Lily and Randi get their seat at the table. They are surrounded by corporate reformers.

20160705 NEA VOTE RR 01

If any two people know how to win a vote it’s Randi and Lily.

When the NEA and the AFT gave Hillary an early endorsement over Bernie Sanders, many scratched their heads trying to figure out what the two teacher unions gained by this.

By hitching the unions’ wagons to the HRC campaign so early, it seemed to many observers that we lost whatever bargaining chip we had.

The AFT’s Randi Weingarten and the NEA’s Lily Eskelsen Garcia promised members that an early endorsement would ensure that teachers got a seat at the table.

And so it has.

Mother Jones published a list of those who are serving on Hillary’s K-12 policy working group.

The previously unreleased list includes:

Chris Edley Jr., the president of the Opportunity Institute, a California-based think tank that works mostly on early-childhood and college access initiatives

Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, the nation’s biggest teachers’ union

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second-biggest teachers’ union

Carmel Martin, the executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and onetime adviser to former Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Catherine Brown, the former vice president of policy at Teach for America and current vice president of education policy at the Center for American Progress

Richard Riley, the secretary of education under Bill Clinton who’s known for his views that don’t neatly fit into the pro-reform or pro-teachers’ union wings of the Democratic Party. Riley supported testing and accountability but also pushed with equal fervor for smaller classes and more funding for schools.

Mother Jones wonders whether the inclusion of Randi and Lily at the table represents a rejection of the Obama education policies. Although Obama also received teacher union endorsements (the NEA was in such a hurry that they endorsed him two years early), the two unions were pretty much shown the door when meetings at the table took place.

There is still a lot to make us wonder.

Let’s hope it’s not based on a voice vote of those sitting at the table.

Of course, from my experience with union votes, if any two people know how to win a voice vote, it is Randi and Lily.

5 thoughts on “Lily and Randi get their seat at the table. They are surrounded by corporate reformers.

  1. Good title, Fred–“Lily & Randi get their seat at the table.”
    Not OUR seat at the table–meaning that of the rank-&-file members.
    And their poor “representation” with the early endorsement–just as was done in 2012 w/Obama (& it was WAY too early).
    So, no surprise at those chosen for the K-12 policy-making group.
    “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has, and it never will.”
    –Frederick Douglass

  2. And public education will continue to be eroded from without and within. When was the last time educational policy really responded to the collective voices of teachers? I can’t remember the last time….I sincerely hope we don’t get another 8 years of Obama-like reform. He made NCLB look reasonable by comparison.

  3. I’ve never been a fan of being granted a seat at the table. It’s like getting to sit with the adults at Thanksgiving: real nice but you’ll still take what they put on your plate.
    Now, if AFT and NEA pooled their resources, bought a table and announced that the others get nothing without us, and we invite OTHERS to our table…that’d be something. Power.
    That’s what we need.

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