Video reveals mystery man who runs largest teachers union
Our On Education page has a new video up, exposing the teachers union chief nobody knows, Dennis Van Roekel of the National Education Association.
I am exaggerating, of course. The NEA has 3.2 million members. I expect almost all of them recognize Van Roekel's name, and maybe even his face. But in recent years the head of the smaller teachers union, Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, has been getting more press coverage. Her union represents teachers in mostly urban school systems, where the problems are greater and thus more newsworthy than the NEA's mostly suburban base. Weingarten was also prominent, as the villain, in the much-discussed new documentary on failing schools "Waiting For 'Superman.'"
I had never met Van Roekel before our interview for the video. He turned out to be an engaging, friendly, unruffled former math teacher. The interview reveals his desire to focus his union efforts on raising achievement for low-income children, what he thinks about the trashing that unions and Weingarten got in the documentary, and other intriguing thoughts.
| October 19, 2010; 3:26 PM ET
Categories: Jay on the Web | Tags: American Federation of Teachers, Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association, Randi Weingarten
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