United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew, who was defending Common Core standards while speaking during a debate at July’s American Federation of Teachers convention in Los Angeles, displayed increasing irritation toward opponents of the standards as his speech went on.
The debate was centered around a resolution for the American Federation of Teachers that would continue supporting and implementing Common Core standards. The video of Mulgrew’s argument was released last Thursday by the education blog Ed Notes Online.
Mulgrew declared that “standards are our tools. They are the tools of the teachers.” He went on to criticize the implementation of Common Core in New York, saying “As a local who had one of the worst implementations in the entire country of Common Core, I understand my brothers’ and sisters’ frustration and anger about the Common Core.”
“And I have heard the stories about how Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Joel Klein and a flying saucer full of Martians designed these things to brainwash us all,” said Mulgrew, referring to critics of the standards.
“What bothers me more than anything is the idea is that the American Federation of Teachers would back down from a fight. The standards are ours. Tests are ours. We are fighting now because they took tests away from them to bring them back to us. You don’t back down from a fight. They took our standards away from us, we’re going to take them back from them because that is our tool. We are the teachers. They are not the teachers. It is our profession,” said Mulgrew.
“So I stand here in support of this for one simple reason: if someone takes something from me, I’m gonna rip it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hands and say it is mine. You do not take what is mine. And I’m gonna punch you in the face and push you in the dirt because this is the teachers, these are our tools and you sick people need to deal with us and the children that we teach. Thank you very much,” Mulgrew concluded.
UFT assistant secretary Leroy Barr followed Mulgrew’s speech and echoed the same support for the standards. “There is no question in my mind that we cannot allow to have different standards in different states. We have to have standards, we have to have standards that are common, we have to do everything that we can to take back what belongs to us,” said Barr.
The debate continued with Timothy Meegan of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, who supports education standards but not Common Core standards because “education is not business“.
“Privatizers estimate the education market to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. Their plan is to deliver pre-loaded content on tablet computers. This isn’t personalized instruction. It de-professionalizes teachers and alienates students from each other and their teachers,” said Meegan.