This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.5 million-member American Federation of Teachers, is a central figure in a segment of the new film "Waiting for ‘Superman’" that describes teacher unions as a "menace" – a major obstacle to improving schools that are performing poorly.
Given the film’s unflattering portrayal of Weingarten, whose union represents Philadelphia teachers, it was good to get to see her and hear her message unedited at Saturday’s One Nation Working Together rally in Washington that aimed to shift national priorities toward education, jobs, and peace.
Weingarten (introduced 3 minutes into this video segment) made a passionate call for a "new era of equity and excellence" so that "every child has a right to a fair and hopeful start in life."
"Teachers work hard every day to make a difference in their students’ lives. But teachers can’t do this alone," she said.
"Teachers, parents, faith leaders, community activists – they are our everyday heroes. But even heroes need help giving all our young people a strong start and an equal shot in life. … The schools in your communities are your schools, whether you have a child in them or not. No more will we speak of ‘those kids’ or ‘other people’s kids.’ Our kids are our kids."