Republican Senator Tom Cotton (Arkansas) yesterday attacked the credibility of a leader of a major teachers union, saying she, “does not even have children of her own. What the hell does she know about raising and teaching kids.”
The educator in question is Randi Weingarten, the President of the American Teacher Federation. Weingarten is also openly gay and married to another woman.
Weingarten backed Democrat Terry McAullife in his bid to once again become Governor of Virginia and appeared at one of his recent rallies.
Asked about this on Fox News yesterday, Cotton blasted Weingarten’s credentials, saying, “Isn’t it amazing that Terry McAuliffe ends his entire campaign with the head of the teachers’ union.”
Education has been a key issue during the Virginia gubernatorial election.
“Randi Weingarten is a joke,” Cotton continued. “Randi Weingarten does not even have children of her own. What the hell does she know about raising and teaching kids?
“That is probably why she was perfectly fine to shut down schools for two years and force kids to wear masks because she didn’t have to deal with it at home.”
Aged 63, Weingarten has worked in education for 35 years. She was the first to respond to Cotton’s comments. She asked if he was taking a dig at her sexuality. She also asked if Cotton was aware she had step-children.
“Wait…Did I misread this or did Tom Cotton just say any teacher who is not also a parent shouldn’t be able to teach? Really? Is he now disqualifying every nun from teaching? Or is this simply a new divisive & hateful homophobic slur against LGBTQ teachers?”
I guess Sen Cotton hasn’t done his homework and doesn’t know I have step-children, grandkids & nieces and nephews. They would certainly be surprised by his comments. As would the many students I taught ( and loved) at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn.
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) November 2, 2021
Weingarten went on to say, “Millions of people who raise and teach and care for America’s children are not parents. Parents everywhere rely on their expertise. Parents everywhere rely on the profound commitment we all must have to other people’s children, their health, well-being, and potential.
“We owe them—teachers who are parents, and teachers who are not parents—our thanks, not insults.
“Parents and educators are partners, and must work together to help our kids thrive… stop the dog whistles Tom and help us help our kids recover.”
Cotton’s comments are reminiscent of another Republican. JD Vance, a GOP candidate for the Senate in Ohio, said in July that a lot of the problems in the US are down to the “childless Left”. He highlighted Pete Buttigieg (then without kids) as an example of someone who didn’t “have a stake” in the future. Vance went as far as saying people with kids should be allowed more votes: one extra for each child they have.
The race for the Virginia governor post has been a bitter one, with much discussion around the teaching of critical race theory in schools and the degree of influence parents should have over what their kids are taught.
At the time of writing, it appeared almost certain that Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin had succeeded in his bid to become governor, beating McAuliffe. Fellow Republican Winsome Sears also won her race, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position of Lieutenant Governor in the state.