October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Peter Cunningham Says ‘Boo!’ To Randi Weingarten

By Bellwether

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Former Arne Duncan hand and current EdPost leader Peter Cunningham pens (pixels?) an open letter to AFT President Randi Weingarten in Ed Week. It comes on the heels of a similar piece by TNTP’s Ari Rozman earlier in the week. 

Too much to pull quote, it covers a lot of ground. And it’s worth reading whether you agree or not because it more or less sums up what everyone in the ed policy world who is not professionally vested in the union is saying (and that includes reform skeptics who are nonetheless dismayed by the climate).  More to the point: The kabuki will continue but it seems doubtful that Arne Duncan’s former comms director would make a statement like this without clearing it with his former boss.

Also worth thinking about audience. It’s easy to forget that union leaders are elected officials, too, and so they play in different ways for different audiences. Weingarten, in particular, is very good at code-switching between strident unionist for her members while positioning herself as open-minded on reform for the nation’s elites (remember when ‘everything except vouchers is on the table’ for a DC audience?). But in today’s tech heavy environment where everything is recorded, reported, and lives online there may be a half life to that strategy. Or perhaps not. We’ll see. In any event, only the members vote so the bottom line is clearer than it was a few years ago.

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