What does the head of America’s second-largest teachers’ union have in common with the Klu Klux Klan?
More than you’d think.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, gave a speech in Washington Tuesday in which she claimed conservatives like Betsy DeVos are trying to “starve public schools” in favor of the “school privatization movement.”
“Public schools are cornerstones of community, of our democracy, our economy and our nation,” she said.
The union boss also accused education reformers of trying to “replace [public schools] with private, religious, online and home schools, all toward their end goal of destroying public education as we know it, atomizing and balkanizing education in America.”
Yet Weingarten’s rhetoric makes it all too clear what her own goal is.
Teachers’ unions and left-leaning progressives fear a multiplicity of education options because they want a unified (read: homogenous) system that they can control.
So, when Weingarten says, “Public schools shouldn’t be pawns for politicians’ ambitions,” it falls a little flat.
After all, she runs an organization that donates millions to Democratic and left-wing politicians and organizations.
As demonstrated above, Weingarten’s basic principles are this:
- That public education is good because it creates a unified society; and
- That private and parochial education challenge public education and therefore should be demonized.
In fact, the KKK advocated for the exact same ideas in the early 1900’s.
Though primarily known for suppressing Black rights in the South, the KKK regained notoriety in the Pacific Northwest during the 1920’s for its involvement in the compulsory education movement.
At the time, private schools were primarily Catholic, composed of Catholic immigrants.
Because public schools taught a state-mandated curricula, the Klan believed such schools would “Americanize” Catholic youth and create a more unified society. Similar to Weingarten, it called public schools the “nurseries of democracy.”
Thus, the KKK supported the Oregon Compulsory Education Act, which required all school-age children to attend public school. In the state of Washington, the Klan put forward another version of the measure, which was referred to as the “K.K.K. Anti-School Bill,” because it too intended to stamp out private education.
“We must have a compulsory education system to reach and uplift every future citizen,” Hiram Evans, the national KKK leader, said in 1924.
The Klan also lobbied with the National Education Assocation, the nation’s largest teachers’ union, for the creation of a federal Department of Education to provide funding to public schools, though that effort wouldn’t come to fruition until 1979.
And the Oregon law was immediately challenged in the Supreme Court, with all nine Justices unanimously declaring it unconstitutional in 1925.
The Court held that “the fundamental liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.”
No wonder Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA, called Randi Weingarten “the most dangerous person in the world.”
She’s trying to accomplish the same thing the KKK was advocating for a hundred years ago.
“A great nation does not fear people being educated,” Weingarten said on Tuesday. “A great nation does not fear pluralism. A great nation chooses freedom, democracy, equality, and opportunity. All of that starts in our public schools.”
It’s ironic to think that, according to Weingarten, pluralism (i.e. diversity), freedom and democracy all have to start in the same type of school teaching the same government-mandated curriculum.
It’s also ironic that far-left radical progressives and far-right racist terrorists both agree that private education is dangerous and only public schools can create good American citizens.
Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?