Randi and Lily at the NPE.


I didn’t make it down to north Michigan Avenue for the second day of the Network for Public Education’s 2015 conference.

I missed Diane Ravitch’s conversation with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT President Randi Weingarten.

I’m waiting for them to post the entire session.

NPE has already posted a few of the big-room presentations. They say that 18 panel presentations were live-streamed.

The panel I was on with our new alderman-elect Carlos Rosa, Bronzeville community organizer Jay Travis and Milwaukee board of education member Larry Miller and moderated by my brother Michael Klonsky was not one of the chosen to be live-streamed.

Too bad. It was really good.

The tweets coming from Lily and Randi’s talk focused on two pieces of news.

Both of the union leaders said that our teacher unions would no longer take Gates money.


But I thought Randi said that before.

Their answers to questions about testing and opting out were muddled at best.

Randi said, “Every parent should have the right to opt out or not to opt out.”

Someone needs to explain to me what the “right not to opt out” means.

Lily’s response was also confusing.

“The opt out movement will not end toxic testing. The solution is changing the world.”

Well, sure.

But this week there is a bill in the Illinois legislature that spells out exactly what parental rights are. Parents who support neighborhood public schools, who support public school teachers, support this opt out bill.


Is Lily telling these parents that the movement they are building is a waste of time?

Change the world instead?

The NEA’s Illinois affiliate will not support this bill.

But I’m pretty sure their reason is not that we need to change the world instead.

Lily is wrong, by the way.

Grassroots movements like the opt out movement do change things.

Sometimes they even help change the world.

2 thoughts on “Randi and Lily at the NPE.

    1. I very much agree with you, Clem. I was down at the conference both days. Some people in the audience remarked they thought Randi was coming on a bit too strong (as for myself, Evita Peron’s ranting came to mind)–she had to mention her ONE day trip to London to address the leaders {I think she was at the stockholders’ meeting} at Pear$on. What did she talk to them about (this part was on Diane Ravitch’s Blog)? Telling them to stop spying on U.S.children!
      Gee–how about stop selling CCRAP to U.S. schools? (I wonder…how much did this cost the AFT?!)
      Also–attended the panel led by Mike Klonsky–overflow crowd, but the session was stuck in the smallest meeting room in The Drake (why was that, I wonder?). Anyway, it was excellent–much good information on pension theft (Fred) & organizing (Miller, Travis & Rosa). We have a LOT to learn from Rosa (who won an outright victory in the very hard-fought, moneyed Chicago aldermanic races) & Travis (who, like Rep. Will Guzzardi, WILL win on her next bid), who are both young, smart & determined to serve their constituents…unlike most elected officials, who either serve only themselves (Schock comes to mind) or their masters, the 1% who bankrolled their elections, taking $$$ from organizations such as Stand on Children & Advance ILL-Annoy (actually, Retreat ILL-Annoy–as in, get back you middle class know-nothings!).
      Oh, Advance, we KNOW who you are & who you represent, & we’re ready. In fact, start calling your sens. to vote against SB 1 (the old SB 16–the alleged “equalizer”–taking $$ from the “rich” school districts {like Evanston-Skokie–$10 million}, & “redistributing” it to the low-income ones. Yeah–when pigs fly will that money go anywhere but into big pockets–like Pear$on.) But don’t take my word for it…read the bill (it’s been amended, but was 473 pages)–lots of hidden agenda, like proposals for getting rid of programs that are “unfunded mandates,” such as anti-bullying, P.E., genocide instruction & a whole host of other such goodies!)

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