by Kendall Tietz
Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo ripped American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten in a Monday interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation, addressing the latest battle in an ongoing feud.
Weingarten wrote a Friday op-ed in Time magazine titled “Extremists Are Using Lies to Undermine America’s Public Schools: We Need to Take a Stand,” which criticized “Rufo and other dark money-funded extremists” for their “attack” on public schools. Rufo, an advocate against the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools, responded to the op-ed, calling Weingarten “perhaps the single greatest oppressor of American children in the United States today.”
“She is virulently anti-education,” Rufo told the DCNF. “She wants to trap poor kids in failing schools with no exit and she’s fighting against the average parent, who simply wants to have a bit more control over his or her child’s education.”
“Sadly, Chris doesn’t like to be called out for not telling the truth,” Weingarten told the DCNF when reached for comment.
Weingarten claimed that “far-right advocates of privatizing public education are using Big Lies to undermine public schools,” calling on public school supporters to stand against “these ugly attacks,” according to the op-ed, which was written with Jonah Edelman, the CEO of Stand for Children. She also mentioned a lecture Rufo gave at Hillsdale College, where he discussed school choice.
In her op-ed, Weingarten also said “Rufo and other dark money-funded extremists” attack public schools through “lies, smears and distortions that stoke fear and anger” which are “spread on social media and Fox News.”
Randi Weingarten says the campaign to give parents a choice in their children's education is equivalent to Hitler's "Big Lie" that set the stage for the Holocaust. The teachers unions are bleeding support and lashing out desperately and incoherently. Keep pressing them. pic.twitter.com/XWkTZGsXMF
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 30, 2022
Rufo said Weingarten’s rhetoric “comparing parents who want to have more school choice to genocidal Nazi propaganda …. is absolutely deranged.”
“It mocks and minimizes the legacy of the Nazis’ brutal crimes against millions of people, and shows the absolutely lunatic desperation of people like Randi Weingarten, who have wrecked their own credibility, who have destroyed the education for kids for the last two years, and are seeking to find a convenient scapegoat,” Rufo told the DCNF. “She can come after me, but what she doesn’t know is that I represent millions of American parents, and they’re not going to be stopped by a petulant, whiny, deranged, middle aged bureaucrat like Randi Weingarten.”
Weingarten doubled down, stating the school choice movement, promoted by “Rufo and other extremists,” will “increase segregation,” undermine democracy and erode America’s middle class.
Rufo told the DCNF that Weingarten is “a borderline illiterate” evidenced by “her horrific punctuation and her tweets.”
“Randi’s legacy is one of failure, is one of harming kids, and is one of working against the interests of parents,” he concluded. “She should immediately resign and enroll in a remedial English and grammar course.”
Last week, Rufo and Weingarten sparred over a quote that Weingarten attributed to Rufo, claiming he instructed the audience to “to sow & grow that distrust” to achieve school choice.
Rufo called it a “doctored quotation” and vowed to “wage legal war” because she “made up the middle part of the quote entirely.”
Weingarten followed up the next day clarifying the “exact quote,” which did not include the allegedly fabricated portion.
Weingarten and the AFT did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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