At the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) convention last month, Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, delivered a fiery defense of the Common Core standards, slamming the notion that teachers should back down from supporting them.
The video was originally posted to Ed Notes Online.
“If someone takes something from me, I’m going to grab it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hands and say it is mine!” Mulgrew shouted. “You do not take what is mine!”
“And I’m going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt because this is the teachers!” he continued. “These are our tools, and you sick people need to deal with us and the children we teach. Thank you very much!”
As reported in the New York Daily News, Mulgrew’s menacing speech came during a heated debate on a resolution regarding the AFT’s continued support of Common Core. Mulgrew, like many teachers’ union leaders, has criticized the implementation of the controversial standards rather than the standards themselves.
Meanwhile, teachers’ unions have sought to delay the use of student performance on Common Core-aligned tests for teacher evaluation ratings.
Mulgrew appeared to be responding to teachers working in classrooms who favor pulling support for the Common Core, as union leadership wants to continue backing the nationalized initiative. Following his threatening speech, AFT president Randi Weingarten said, “Whatever you stand on this, the passion in this room about our profession is unbelievable. Thank you AFT!”
In his address, Mulgrew mocked those who oppose the Common Core standards, saying he has “heard the stories” of how individuals such as Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and “a flying saucer full of Martians designed these things to brainwash us all.”
When the assessments aligned with the Common Core standards were first administered in New York in 2013, state test scores plummeted by about 30 points.
The UFT Educational Foundation received a grant of $30,250 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November of 2010 “to fund a teacher professional development project that will utilize video to create a portfolio of professional practice, enhance practice and align professional development with the needs of educators.”
The two largest teachers unions, AFT and the National Education Association (NEA), received millions of dollars of funding from the Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core standards.
AFT itself received $4.4 million from the Gates Foundation “to support the AFT Innovation Fund and work on teachers development and Common Core State Standards.”
Last month, AFT announced it would award grants to assess the controversial standards and even to write other standards to replace them.