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Randi, Lily, and Their Common Core Fidelity

April 27, 2015

I was in Chicago this past weekend for the second annual conference of the Network for Public Education (NPE).

(A number of videos of conference sessions will be available here. In the first video, the session to which I refer in this post is around 2:10:00.)

One of the sessions I attended was the Sunday morning keynote (April 26, 2015) in which education historian and NPE founding president Diane Ravitch interviewed both National Education Association (NEA) president Lily Eskelsen Garcia and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten.

Both Garcia and Weingarten support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which seems to be (now) chiefly embraced by Democrats (see here, and here, and here)… and by Republican Jeb Bush.

During the Sunday NPE interview, Ravitch asked both Garcia and Weingarten to state their positions on CCSS.

Weingarten went first. She stated that she did not support a “federal” CCSS.

Word games.

As it stands, only two days after her statement above, on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Weingarten is the opening speaker for the very-pro-CCSS Center for American Progress (CAP) “revealing” report entitled, “How Teachers Are Leading the Way to Successful Common Core Implementation.”

The idea of CCSS’ merely suffering from “poor implementation” is an idea near to Weingarten’s heart for years now. So, if America could just experience a handful of teachers “successfully implementing” CCSS, that would prove that CCSS homogenization of American education is the way to go.

CAP president Carmel Martin will also be participating in this CCSS implementation yard sale, even though in September 2014, she defended CCSS with astounding cluelessness in this Intelligence Squared debate in New York City.

Indeed, this is not the first Martin-Weingarten summit. The two came together to negotiate a position on “testing and accountability” in the initial Senate-proposed reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) in January 2015. An outcome of this January 2015 meeting is the Weingarten shuffle to support the annual testing she previously opposed.

In the NPE event moderated by Ravitch, Weingarten was quick to point out her years ago pressing for a moratorium around CCSS testing. However, a moratorium is only a delay. Thus, from Weingarten, expect continued CCSS and CCSS-assessment support couched in politically-lubricated language.

And there is plenty of CCSS lube available for Garcia, as well.

Sure, Garcia has taken a stronger stance against the annual testing than has Weingarten, but in her response to Ravitch’s question about her position on CCSS, Garcia clearly chose to answer the unasked question, “What are some of your favorite CCSS standards, Lily?”

Yep. Garcia offered the NPE audience a soft-sell, Helen Steiner Rice moment regarding a few “favorite” standards, emphasizing that these CCSS faves could not be adequately assessed using bubble tests. So, since she found three standards that she “favors,” Garcia hopes to cement in the NPE audience psyche the idea that all of the K12 CCSS math and ELA standards are fine, and that they are fine as a set for all classrooms nationwide.

Garcia offered no word on her least-liked CCSS standards. To do so would have been to criticize the CCSS that she clearly supports in its entirety. Garcia’s allowing any semblance of truly critical thought to enter her CCSS sell would have killed the figurative, tender-moment music and sent Helen Steiner Rice packing.

And so, there we have it in brief, my readers.

Two union leaders; one beloved CCSS.

lily randi


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication June 12, 2015.

CC book cover


  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    politically-lubricated language…. a brilliant phrase.

  2. Thank you Mercedes. You seem to be the one person in NPE who realizes what is going on.

  3. permalink

    Thanks for shedding light on these two!!


  4. Mercedes –

    For several years, I worked under an exceptionally dimwitted school leader, who had a penchant for beginning PD meetings by scolding “all of you teachers who took a sick day today because you didn’t want to go to PD”. Of course, none of those teachers were in attendance – duh!

    I was reminded of this at the Randi-Lily show. I made a pact with two of my friends to always sit together during those PD sessions so that we were able to restrain one another from jumping out of our seats and shouting at the key clueless moments of our leader.

    Great analysis!

  5. LAEducator permalink

    Yes, Bill Gates’ millions have bought the good opinion of CCSS from both the NEA & the AFT – first as a reduced resistance to it – then as an overly-kind acceptance of it as inevitable & necessary. All of these professional teacher organizations who took the money to soft-peddle their opinions on the standards & their disastrous implementation & put down opposition as due to a PR problem can do so, but it’s not stopping individual members from dissenting & if anything, opposition to CCSS is growing the more the public knows. Thanks for continuing to enlighten so many, Mercedes.

  6. ira shor permalink

    Excellent, terrific reading of the Randy-Lily Show slithering their way into a no-questions-allowed session where they play pretend and make-believe.

  7. PNW_WarriorWoman permalink

    As a current parent who attended NPE (and loved your track session btw, M) their dodging and weaving was blatantly transparent. You nailed it in this post. I disliked being treated like an idiot.

  8. Number9 permalink

    I was waiting for you to mention the hissing from the crowd at these comments. I was there also.

  9. Is it possible Randi Weingarten is recognizing that the best way to have an influence on how CCSS plays out in schools is to be part of the group that supports it? Is she possibly worn down by the education reform movement in general?

    What saddens me is that it seems that the battle against standards and testing for uses other than student-centric needs seems to be lost. The battle is now over which standards. And in that battle I wonder if Randi is saying, CCSS is the best choice in a bad bunch.

  10. Both Lily Garcia and Randi Weingarten are slithering back-stabbers.

    They have sold-out their rank and file, fattened their own wallets, and whored themselves out to politicians and testing bullies. They have head-nodded every wretched feature of this wretched reform all the while pretexting their valor for classroom teachers.

    They talk out of both sides of their mouths … spending alternating weeks kissing the ass of Common Core zealots and self-enriching entrepreneurs, then lying to their dues’ paying teachers who are looking for relief from this Common Core madness..

    They think they own a special immunity which allows them special impunity … and that snotty assumption will seal their fate soon enough.

    Weingarten’s puzzling and immediate support for Clinton was clearly in the hope of landing a future cabinet position. Garcia now has a strong faction of anti-Hillary constituents in the NEA … and they are clearly standing up to the union establishment. There is a similar anti-Clinton force in the AFT.

    These two union leaders of the AFT and the NEA have so overly politicized themselves while ignoring the needs and concerns of the every-day teachers. Union influence is now at an all-time low under these grinning gadflies. They influence no one, defend no one, and and care for no one but themselves.

    Their days are numbered. Union power has been castrated … and those who pay the dues are soon going to demand their due. That is going to include the end of the Weingarten-Garcia sell-out.

    Denis Ian

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Opt-Out Movement and Teachers: Opportunity Lost? | Reclaim Reform
  2. Lily Eskelsen Garcia Pursues US Ed Sec Post | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

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