American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten compared “parental rights” and school “choice” to language used by racial segregationists during an interview on Tuesday.
Weingarten was speaking with Seth Harris, a senior fellow for the Burnes Center for Social Change, about “book banning” and the political scene surrounding education in the U.S., according to a recording of the interview.
Weingarten mentioned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had shown her that the terms “parental rights” and “choice” were the same words used by people who wanted to enforce segregation in schools after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
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“But what the core is, and you know this as well as I do … the same kind of roots that happened in the aftermath of Brown v. Board, those same words that you heard in terms of wanting segregation post Brown v. Board of Education, those same words you hear today,” Weingarten said. “I was kind of gobsmacked when I was talking to Southern Poverty Law Center and they showed me, the same words “choice,” “parental rights,” an attempt to divide parents versus teachers, and at that point it was white parents versus other parents, but it’s the same kind of words.”
Weingarten went on to accuse parental rights advocates of wanting the “end of public education as we know it,” according to the interview. She said that the goal for conservatives is to get “universal vouchers” because some of them “hate knowledge” or because they “fear broad-based knowledge.”
“Remember what Trump said, he liked the ignorant people,” Weingarten said in the interview. “They want to have, basically, a Christian ideology, their particular Christian ideology dominate the country, as opposed to a country that was born on the freedom of the exercise of religion.”
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Weingarten also blamed “extremists” for taking advantage of the anxiety surrounding education issues following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the interview. She argued that people “used the fact that kids were not okay” because of the school shutdowns to “blame schools, blame teachers and blame teachers unions.”
AFT and SPLC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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