tv Newsmakers Randi Weingarten AFT President CSPAN February 17, 2019 6:00pm-6:33pm EST
using video from the c-span archives and analysis by congressional reporters. monday, we look at senator mcconnell's career. tuesday, speaker nancy pelosi. wednesday, we look at house minority leader kevin mccarthy's congressional career. thursday, we wrap up the week with a look at senate minority leader charles schumer. watch next week, beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> on teacher strikes.
a resounding s as rejection or is it a little bit nuanced than that? ms. weingarten: first, i question and i thank you and michael for being journalists, which is really america these days and you too, john. you see -- let me definitively - as as i can, strikes are a last resort. go on strike t unless they have tried everything else, and what you that there's been ten ears of historic isininvestment of states protecting their disininvestment
by using privatization and disparagement of teachers and at point or another, the straw s going to break the camel's back. i think you saw after the marches being, the make sm on fighting to sure that we protected preexisting conditions from uninsurable, the work, you of gun violence as we approach -- as we are at year-end anniversary of arkland, that teachers started hinking and had the imagines could -- -- that they actually achieve what had heretofor been impossible which
s turning around the austerity and lack of development. so i think -- investment. i think that it is be a -- it resounding indictment of the 25 states that spend less they did on public education ten years online, 41 spending less on higher education than they did ten real ago, but there was attempts over these ten years to try to use normal lobbying, the fact that the public supports public try to get the of priorities which, the public schools which serves of kids should be the priority, and when that failed, ou started seeing these walkouts in west virginia, in ona, oklahoma -- not order -- chicago, charter schools, l.a., and, frankly even
now in west virginia, mitch carmichael, the senate leader gets his way againstble to retaliate the stand teachers and parents took last year. randi, how do you see some of these issues playing out? the issue of teacher-labor 2020 democratic primary? re you expecting more democratic parents to talk about -12 issues, siding with teachers that are on strike? what are you expecting there? ms. weingarten: again, i will say it as many times as i can. utilize direct action and their unions utilize direct as a last resort. we will try everything else to
resources that we need for kids in a classroom and ourselves.s for and -- because teachers actually that destabilization or disruption is not helpful for kids. so these walkouts, in our view, kids after we've tried everything else, but because of that, michael, that's been so much public support because we've been able talk about what the issues are, how we're fighting for the need, and i ids think as a result that's why you strike, i don't know, i think there was five of candidates who tweeted their support, and that 82% of the public n l.a., you know, the results that showed 82% of the public in l.a. supported the strikes.
in ink you're seeing that terms of the last p.d.k. poll from last year, from your viewers, the gold standard of polling in the education space people were asked a question about, you know, should public schools or focus on alternative to public 78% to 80% said strengthen public schools. that was kind of a high watermark. poll.w it in a harvard you are seeing at a great time visiveness -- divisness, emanating from the a lot of people in going back to basics. for pluralism and kids being able to mediate
ssues with each other, play well with each other, learn the skills they need to learn, and back home to ing public education but knowing and are a big part of this, what we need to strengthen our public schools. you talk about resources for students. looking ahead to the to 20 about n, you're talking the resources that the teachers of american might bring, i believe it was $12 million spent on candidates political groups by a.f.c. in the 2018 election. do you plan to do more than that in 2020? is this john -- ms. weingarten: is this john or michael? >> it is john. ms. weingarten: we're always ery candid about what we spend and do the big reveal as soon as we know what it is it. what it is. we will spend what our members
want us to spend on elections. you know, even though the right tried to dissa r-a ray and -- dissa ray and vis rate the irony is we're actually now more political, not less political in the aftermath of -- of that case that tried to, you know, where the koch brothers and others tried to the unions. but -- but -- but we have to a process first and our council passed a process last week which had four spoents. do the numbers want? what are their aspirations? needs in terms of president yl candidates? a lot of will be doing listening and engaging with members.
lot of wo, there's a candidates that want access to our membership. what we would like is for them spend a day with our members. e would like them to see the challenges in classrooms, listen to the challenges of our adjunct professors who have student loan debt that is well beyond what get from us. number three, people are really we don't se days, so want them to wait until there's a nationwide endorsement to be engaged with candidates so there's going to e an ability for people to be involved and engaged as delegates do these kind of things. at one point or another we'll get to an endorsement. jumping and piggybacking off of that. endorsed he a.f.t. clinton over obama. how are you looking at that field? there are a lot of candidates out there.
ome of their past indication agendas haven't really lined with a.f.t.'s. viewing these early field? >> wel -- ms. weingarten: well, one of the reasons we had our conversation amongst our leaders so -- as arly as this february, meaning as early as this month, is because have already announced gauging and really they are reaching out -- engaging and they are reaching to us. i think records matter and what is le have done in the past important. i think commitment to public ducation, commitment to workers, commitment to american democracy, commitment to a more perfect union. of that stuff really matters. but, you know what, it is so now.y it is different than when there's one or two candidates, is not a race s orre there's going to be one two candidates very early. i'm not sure that the field will
be clarified until march or april of 2020. why the questions are important, getting members important, but figuring out where the candidates stand on issue of education, labor rights, oter rights, the democracy itself, economic issues, middle class, climate, all of these are really important. candidates e of the whose record has been getting that of cory booker. supported ast has charter schools, education initiatives, he worked the betsy devos and some of organizations that she did, and on to a bill gned to reauthorize school vouch ares district of columbia.
are those types of policies a impediment to winning the support of your union and teachers? ms. weingarten: well, i think that the issue -- so, you know, said to you on t.v. right it is a complete impediment or no, it is not an impediment, then i would be violating exactly what i said to ou earlier, which is it is really early in the process and we're going to be listening to our members. i heard from some people that they view it as a impediment because the issue becomes how to you eorder priorities to get the investment into public education and not have a competitive model pit against it? but i would say we need to go through this process and really
some members of what their key priorities are and have a guy like cory book wants to, doing a town hall and answering questions, and so -- teacher's questions. and so instead of letting hook, you know, answer their questions and see only they -- where not their heart is, but is there a commitmentty, a real to public education, including the investment that's needed? of a sudden there's only $1 left, what do you do? do you ininvest it in -- invest in lower class size or do you give it to the private for-profit charter operator who is -- who doesn't have any accountability? in our world, we invest in
are c education, but those the questions that cory and kamila and joe biden and sherrod in, and he gets elizabeth and amy and kirsten others will have to answer. and, frankly, teachers and able to see the authenticity of those answers if anybody is pitting one against the other or if somebody doing the bidding off of rich olks or if someone is authentically involved in helping all of our children in america getting an education. >> i know we're weeks and days into some of these campaigns, say if any of o those folks that we mentioned have reached out to you or a.f.t. about some of the issues you mentioned? they have.ten: yes, >> can you name names? ms. weingarten: let's just say
has rung a lot. >> is that largely due to the are we're ikes seeing? i think it is so interesting a teacher strikes have been about are a lot of the pusheds that were really by the obama administration. ms. weingarten: i'm sorry, lauren. you know that i was not a big duncan, and in some ways it is actually great. successor, is going to be with us in el paso, we do a is week when own hall -- a teach-in on, you know, the issues of mmigrations, the issue of our kids who are refugees or aasylum seekers, the real issues we deal with in classrooms. that arne was just wrong on a lot of issues, and i
from the can see research and effects with what happened with race to the top no child left behind -- child left behind, they have jettisoned into the new education law and that is about works with kids and really listening to teachers and to a law that was both pushed by republicans and and rats, lamar alexander patty murray. big fan of this test-based, fear peep nto submission -- people into submission because if you spend ten minutes with a teacher, you you can er heart and see we're trying to figure out how to help all children succeed. are we always successful? no but it would be -- no. would be better if we had the resources and support and
tellinghat teachers are the public through the strike. and if you have somebody like superintendent in richmond who we sparred with with michele dministration, he's on the frontlines for the fight for nvestments or other superintendents like ms. giff in oklahoma. bottom line is i think we turned the corner on this stupid debate about accountability versus investment. course teachers need to do their job. of course we should figure out their job or n do not. at the end of the day, if i'm a i have ool teacher and 50 kids in my classroom, it is as going to be as effective if i had 25, and not have books about lies that talk trump as president as opposed to
bill clinton as president, then to take money out of my own pocket to actually get those materials, and these teachers are talking about. counsellors so we have meet the mental health we need or a nurse in school so if a student or leg that there is somebody there who can help. are the he -- those the s that have caught attention of people. > we have about seven minutes left. stratford. >> obviously democrats are in control of the house of representatives. top things e of the you're expecting to have year?ship bring up this ms. weingarten: so, look, we have to talk about fund our future. house leadership has brought billion like the $100
infrastructure bill in schools that i had the honor to of it in avor of -- testify in favor of this week. that would be a really important measure. we can get funds into schools, the less pressure on throughout the country, particularly rural areas that are still really suffering and have or seen the jobs come back other kinds of economic development come back. foufl -- if you focus on ied a and title 1 is the funding that is supposed to poor kids that lyndon johnson shepherded 50-some odd ago. if we actually got the money in those romised bills, in those laws, districts -- kids throughout the country $580 billion more right now, and that would mean a
lot to districts. so we're focusing on a national level in terms of fund our future. have a ebody says we deficit or things like that, why don't we look at what just of the tax terms bill instead of creating eficits to let the rich get richer, let's actually invest in our future. number one. number two is, take student trillion of student debt right now and there's 44 adults, not young so young adults that have student debt. what if we took public student it forgiveness and made more real. what if people got automatically enrolled in it if they are a teacher or nurse, just like enrolled inatically social security, and we made sure that that promise is real, are in public service for ten years, that your
debt gets forgiven? things that we think if we go to the congress with that's going to hugely help who are struggling every $100, dz 200 -- $200 repayments. the debate wb democrats in -- with democrats in working through the issue that will pass a republican-controlled senate conductingother side oversight of the trump administration investigations, where do you come down on that debate? have you been advising house they can look w at or scrutinize the trump education department? well, i don't see myself as an adviser to democrats. think that they -- but when i'm asked a question, i don't
think it is an either or. for example, betsy devos, scathing new report how just came out about badly, and in some ways how ant she is on the issue debt.dent loan she doesn't want them to take balanceses, ks and but the -- the federal has nment, her department alarmingly being asleep at the switch. they can extent that actually help lenders versus help the students, they help the lenders. that kind of oversight is really important. you are a student or a new nurse with -- with a repayment plan that is $500 to $1,000 a
were put in the wrong plan because your servicer won't answer your question or you, and the federal government won't do anything that's a real-life issue that requires oversight. so i don't -- i don't think it an either or, but i think that a lot of the people in now, they want to actually solve people's problems they can't get bipartisan legislation done in education, frankly, lamar alexander has been talking about that, and he o do patty murray did in the k-12 not, they can say this is what we want to pass. >> we have less than two minutes. i wanted to ask, the average $59,000 to ary is more in n 2017, it is
california or new york, less in mississippi. what is a fair average salary. what would you like to see it get to? to weingarten: i was asked chancellor rudy question in that february 20 -- i'm sorry, said to 1998, and i to be r salaries need high enough that teachers can a decent middle familiesome with their without working two and three and four jobs. did the kly, when we first contract in 2002, the i negotiated with frankly michael bloomberg and salaries by 16% we20% in that contract, what
saw immediately is we went down rom 17,000, 18,000 people in the system who were uncertified to about 2,000 or 3,000, and least -- people starting to think about staying in teaching. teachers, just like other workers, but teachers make a of erence in the lives others. they are future makers, and they they deserve a decent income.class that can mean different things in different places in the be try but it should significantly more than it is now. randi weingarten thank you very much. ms. weingarten: thank you. >> we started this conversation strikes.chers and randi weingarten said that
resort for the last teachers. in this day and age are strikes the last resort r seen as a primary tool for teachers? >> i think everywhere this is happening, you see teachers is the last this resort and in most cases they are. but what you're also seeing is a lot of validation happening from the public towards what these strike for. they are getting a lot of support nationwide. i think -- i think what rndi -- randi is fire up some flares, watch this, watch what's happening around the country, arguing for,ey are atch what they are pick eting for, these are issues important to us and we will watch how you to them and how your past agenda speaks to those issues.
think you already see democrats in congress at least on the house side try to these teacher strikes and capitalize on this public of the teacherss to they have a huge bill include funning for schools -- funding for schools as part of package.tructure they want to hold more hearings on highlighting the conditions and i h teachers work, think that as we were talking randi is going to be a key part of the education inues that were talked about the 2020 campaign. >> i did want to talk about some house issues that democrats are bringing up. how likely are they to make it a spring congress and get a signature from a republican president? areas that both sides agree on in this congress? you're nk any time talking about a huge infusion of
into education, which is what democrats are largely proposing, that stands making itno chance of through the senate.can-controlled there is luded to, some negotiation on the education bill, that would have compromise ty grand to bring the two sides together right now, but that's something working on. the vast majority, though, i hink are pieces of legislation that they are trying to hold out for messaging or is to signal were to go if democrats took the senate or white house in 2020. >> michael got it exactly right. here is some republican interest in moving an nfrastructure bill, but an education bill has been less than that. most people see schools as a local responsibility. >> final minute, we'll focus on 2020.
what candidate on the democratic side has the farthest to go you hink to owner the support of teachers unions? you specifically asked about cory booker. why? cory booker is someone hannah:s been on -- cory booker who has been on the other side, on the other side of the teachers union. is record as mayor of newark, pushing educational reforms, he closely with d now-education secretary betsy devos when she was working on school choice issues as a private citizen. randi imply those ould be concerns for teacher unions. while he has maybe those roblems with teacher unions, i think the rest of the peeled is really wide open. rest of the field is really wide open. i don't know there is a
favorite. field.a huge we'll have to see what happens. agree with everything michael just said. teacher unions are a primary factor. with the a.f.t. and national education association. they have more than five million members. their war chest is huge. they can get out the vote. a very going to be deciding factor in who makes it hrough here in the to 20 election -- 2020 election. someone like cory booker poses a because of his background on education, on know, choice, even, you private school choice, so it will certainly interesting to see. to watch e thing here though is how the teacher's a candidate who could beat a president trump a candidate whose agenda
with their own. >> you mentioned the war chest. they'll match or exceed what they spent in the past? will ould say they probably exceed it. >> i think that's right. as you heard randi said, following the supreme court in anice unions are more supportive. when you have a wide open field, those imary coveted endorsements mean a lot. so i think they'll go pretty big this cycle. >> we'll have to end it there. we'll see what happens. lauren and michael, thank you for joining us. having us.or >>. -- >> thanks.
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forceful in his denungsation of -- denunciation of racism. c-span where history unfolds daily. 1989, c-span was created as a public service by the cable companies. we continue to bring you of congress, the white house, and the supreme court and events in cy washington, d.c. and around the country. yourn is brought to you by cable or satellite provider. >> on wednesday, former colorado hickenlooper is exploring a presidential run in 2020. hickenlooper talked about his background and answered marijuana, out health