Seeking to capitalize on the momentum of the Chicago teachers strike, unions and allied parent and community groups promised Friday to launch a nationwide fight against government-led school reform efforts that they say are only making public education worse.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten announced at a news conference in Washington that they plan workshops, town halls and other events in 11 cities to engage communities in finding their own solutions to improve public education.
For years, unions have pushed back against government interventions in education reform, including the closure of failing schools, the takeover of others by private consultants and the growth in charter schools. They say school closures put a disproportionate number of African-American teachers out of work and leave blighted communities with even fewer resources. They also decry what they say is a “top-down” reform effort by city leaders that fails to hear the opinions of local educators and parents.