CV NEWS FEED // Longtime teachers union boss Randi Weingarten attacked parents who seek an increased role in their children’s education by citing a widely discredited far-left group that listed a parental rights group with the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
“The same kind of roots that happened in the aftermath of Brown v. Board [of Education],” Weingarten said in an interview with the left-wing Power at Work podcast, “those same words that you heard in terms of wanting segregation post Brown v. Board of Education, those same words you hear today.”
The union leader told the podcast host that she was “kind of gobsmacked” when she recently spoke with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left organization known for their “lists” of purported “hate groups.”
“I was talking to [SPLC], and they showed me the same words, ‘choice,’ ‘parental rights,’ and an attempt to divide parents versus teachers,” Weingarten stated. “[At] that point, it was white parents versus other parents.”
She then named a few prominent school choice advocates and said: “If you listen to them, what they really want is the end of public education as we know it.”
Weingarten has served as the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) for over 15 years. The AFT is the second-largest teachers union in the nation.
“Of course, Weingarten cited the [SPLC],” observed The Daily Signal Managing Editor Tyler O’Neil in a series of Wednesday posts to X (formerly known as Twitter). He added that the activist group is “notorious for branding mainstream conservative and Christian nonprofits ‘hate groups’ and putting them on the map with the KKK.”
O’Neil quoted an SPLC X post from June that added multiple pro-parent groups, such as Moms for Liberty, Parents Defending and Education, and Parents’ Rights In Education, to their “hate map.” The map also includes “chapters of the Ku Klux Klan,” O’Neil observed.
Deceptive “lists” are not the only things for which the SPLC has been discredited in its tumultuous five-decade existence.
O’Neil referred to the fact that the same organization Weingarten cited “had a racism [and] sexism scandal that led to” the firing of its co-founder, Morris Dees. This shocking event was reported on extensively and denounced even in liberal outlets.
In a 2019 tell-all piece published by The New Yorker, former SPLC employee Bob Moser said he and his coworkers often felt like they were “pawns in what was, in many respects, a highly profitable scam.”
In a USA Today op-ed published later that year, Jessica Prol Smith called the group “a hate-based scam that nearly caused me to be murdered.” Smith, a longtime pro-life activist, explained that at the time when she was working for the Family Research Council (FRC), her office was attacked by a far-left domestic terrorist.
“I’ll never forget the moment I learned we were on lockdown,” Smith wrote, recounting the day’s event.
It was Aug. 15, 2012. My frustration mingled with fear. Trapped on the sixth floor, we knew someone had been shot. We knew we couldn’t leave yet. We knew little else.
While I was missing lunch, a crime scene played out in the office lobby below me. My coworker and friend Leo wasn’t armed, but he had played the quick-thinking and inadvertent hero, disarming a young man on a mission to kill me and as many of my colleagues as possible. The gunman had packed his backpack with ammo and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches — later admitting that he had planned to smear them on our lifeless faces as a political statement. Leo took a bullet in the arm but managed to hold the attacker until law enforcement arrived.
Later in the piece, Smith explained:
It was the type of violent incident that one could expect a group that purportedly monitors “hate,” like the [SPLC], to notice, research and decry. In fact, we were on the center’s radar but for all the wrong reasons. The assailant acknowledged later in FBI testimony that he had selected our office precisely because the SPLC had labeled my employer a “hate group.”
In his X thread, O’Neil referenced that the SPLC decided to still keep the FRC on their “hate map,” even following the near-deadly attack.
“So, why did Weingarten cite this group?” O’Neil asked.
He concluded that the union boss has every incentive to falsely place peaceful parent activists in the same bundle as the KKK and other violent racist groups.
O’Neil identified that “the modern parental rights movement is a reaction to “COVID-19 lockdowns … divisive CRT lessons teaching kids to judge by skin color, [and] schools pushing transgender identity and hiding it from parents,” all policies prominently pushed by Weingarten and her union over the last few years.