One Big Reform Speech from Teachers Union Leader Doesn't Change Much

So American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, leader of one of the national teachers unions, gives a big speech this week on how her group is interested in reforming the tenure system and is willing to accept student performance as part of meaningful teacher evaluations.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert gives Weingarten a fair hearing (H/T Eduwonk) but concludes:

If the union chooses not to follow through on these proposals, its credibility will take a punishing and well-deserved hit.

Otherwise, skepticism seems to be the word of the day…. Education Week‘s Stephen Sawchuk notes that the “Big Speech” didn’t really have that much new in there. Edspresso’s coolreformchick is “not impressed” — at least as long as AFT and other unions continue fighting against school choice.

The coup de grace, however, has to go to the venerable Mike Antonucci who insists he won’t get fooled again:

By my count, this is about the 10th new path forward since I began covering the national teachers’ unions, and most of them get launched with a speech at the National Press Club.

I guess that’s what you get with the voice of experience: deja vu all over again.

As for me, I may live long enough to see things really change. But I also have a lot of living to do first. In the meantime, I’m going to take a cue from my sage elders and focus on issues that have more promise of lasting reform to benefit kids like me. In other words, I won’t be holding my breath.