For example, the unions’ newest patron saint, education writer Diane Ravitch, wrote a post titled “The Hero Teachers of Newtown.” Just three days after the shooting, Ravitch described the teachers’ bravery not in individual terms, but by linking it to their union membership. The implication was clear: nonunion teachers would not have acted the same way. And if that weren’t enough, she used the dead to rant against teacher evaluations, tenure, and student testing. She also criticized Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy for supporting charter schools, saying, “Let us hope Governor Malloy learned something these past few days about the role of public schools in their communities. Newtown does not need a charter school. What it needs now is healing.” What a creative way to champion healing: divisive and ugly rhetoric.
Ravitch’s comments were criticized by David Rosenberg, a senior member of Teach for America, the nonprofit that recruits high-performing college graduates to work in low-income school districts for two years. Immediately coming to Ravitch’s defense was Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union. Lewis said this:
Rosenberg’s “false outrage” needs to be checked. That same false outrage should show itself when policies his colleagues support kill and disenfranchise children from schools across this nation. We in Chicago have been the victims of their experiments on our children since the current secretary of education “ran” [Chicago Public Schools].