About 100 protesters from NEA and AFT, including union presidents Lily Eskelsen García and Randi Weingarten, headed over to the U.S. Department of Education yesterday with boxes of failing report cards for Secretary Betsy DeVos. They were turned away at the door by security, citing the group’s lack of an appointment.
The group feigned outrage, apparently forgetting their pledge from last year that there would be no photo op with DeVos.
Still, the Department of Education was entirely mistaken about the composition of the group.
“It’s unfortunate that instead of working to have productive dialogue, the unions decided it was important to pull teachers out of the classroom for a two-hour political publicity stunt — for which they shot their own footage to send to media outlets,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Liz Hill.
I doubt many – if any – teachers were pulled out of the classroom. Both unions have their headquarters in the area, as does the Washington Teachers Union. They were undoubtedly augmented by the NEA board of directors, who are in DC for their regular meeting this weekend and traditionally use Thursday as a lobby day.
I don’t know what obligation public officials have to participate in union street theater, but we’ll see more of this sort of thing on February 24, when public sector unions will be staging their Janus protests.