Teachers’ union president Randi Weingarten is plotting a teachers’ strike to shut down schools in Puerto Rico, according to a conversation overheard Friday in the first-class car of an Acela train heading to New York.
Puerto Rico is in the midst of implementing school-choice reforms, opposed by Weingarten’s American Federation of Teachers. Last month Gov. Ricardo Rosselló signed legislation to increase the number of charter schools and voucher programs.
Weingarten said she does not want to use the word “strike,” but wants to use the strategy of recent teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and West Virginia as a model to fight against school-choice reforms.
“We never use the word strike,” Weingarten was overheard saying on the phone in a first-class car. “We are a human shield for the kids … teachers are doing this in the stead of parents and kids.”
Weingarten said the union’s goal should be “cloaking this in Oklahoma and West Virginia” and asked the unknown person on the other end of the line, “Does that concept work?” Weingarten also mentioned working with the “lobbyists we have” on the plan.