Cindy Grosz
Cindy GroszCourtesy

Don’t feel safe walking in your neighborhoods fearing you might be the victim of an anti-Semitic hate crime? You can probably place blame on perpetrators learning to hate Jews in a failing education system.

While Israeli elections have been successful in coalition building with haredi education activists, American Jews seem to lose power and overwhelmingly reject candidates that endorse a school choice situation where quality education survives and thrives in public, private and homeschooling options. Instead, their support is taken for granted by clever politicians, empty promises and outdated beliefs that parents and grandparents shared of coming to America and fulfilling “their” American dream.

Today’s American Jews seem to be either the activists or the enablers in the education failure crisis. We are taxpayers, educators, students and parents. We aren’t doing a good job of protecting ourselves and our interests in private, public and homeschooling.

It seems to me as if nobody has done more to hurt education and incite hate more than Jewish Randi Weingarten.

While it’s been reported that Weingarten makes $500,000 annually, under Weingarten's watch the AFT has pushed back against schools reopening post Covid-19, flown in the face of CDC guidelines by foisting mask mandates on school districts and promoted a progressive agenda that includes the tenets of Critical Race Theory turning classrooms into frontlines in an increasingly divisive political and cultural war.

It seems she wouldn’t single out Blacks or Hispanics in a tweet the way she criticized Jews in tweets last year, “And they needed power to have enough income and wealth for their families that they could put their kids through college and their kids could do better than they have done. Both economic opportunity through the labor movement and an educational opportunity through public education were key for Jews to go from the working class to the ownership class. American Jews are now part of the ownership class,” she said. “What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it.”

In 2018, the principal of New York City's High School of Art and Design was accused of systematically removing white and Jewish teachers.
Weingarten’s leadership, first as head of NYSUT and now AFT, both powerful unions, which were started to protect all people by Jews who reacted to poor working conditions, now has become seemingly anti-Semitic. Under her leadership, teachers unions nationwide have been singling out Jewish issues and staff negatively.

The Jewish education crisis has been building for several decades. It didn’t start on college campuses. It started in elementary schools where Jews attend, work in and pay taxes for. The crisis continues in private schools where some of the services are received through public schools.

Sadly, Weingarten has assistance filling classrooms with biased curriculum and staffing practices from Jewish union staff and educators. They witness prejudice against Jews everyday. They remain silent, or worse, carry out questionable union policies for fear of retaliation and harassment like I received for speaking the truth, filing a lawsuit and subsequently getting through an illegal retaliation termination in a “kangaroo court” where submitted documentation and witness testimony proved laws were broken and contractual obligations deliberately not carried out, hurting everyone, including the few Jews on staff.

How else could you explain:

  • New York state officials on Friday proposed new rules that would require private schools to prove they are meeting state education standards, a response to allegations that ultraconservative Jewish yeshivas are failing to deliver lessons in core subjects such as English, math and science - instead of allowing parents to educate children as they believe their religion mandates.

  • In August, Minneapolis public school teachers of color will have additional job protections this upcoming school year under a new contract that would allow them to keep their jobs rather than white instructors with more seniority. This has been going on for years in New York without any contractual promises and now it will probably become a 50 state practice legally.

  • In 2021, Karen Ames, a 30-year Department of Education employee, says she was targeted by Carranza’s “Disrupt and Dismantle” campaign to oust or marginalize longtime employees because she is over 40, and Jewish. In her lawsuit, Ames claims was grilled about her “ethnic background” and chastised by a colleague at a training session when she shared her grandparents’ experience during the Holocaust in Poland. She was “admonished” when she declined requests at superintendents meetings to take part in the comic book movie-inspired “Wakanda Forever” salute to “black power.”

  • In 2018, the principal of New York City's High School of Art and Design was accused of systematically removing white and Jewish teachers. Several former teachers filed multiple federal lawsuits against Art and Design High School principal Manuel Ureña, alleging he would fabricate performance and disciplinary reports against teachers who were Jewish or Caucasian in order to fire them.

  • In 2014, Lawrence Brenner, 57, sued the NYCDOE and PS 15 boss Antonio K’Tori for discriminating against older white and Jewish teachers. Brenner claimed he was fired in 2012 “based on the false disciplinary and performance record created by K’Tori. Brenner claims K’Tori told him he was “ruining his little black children” in 2009 and told others that “you white teachers are hurting my little black children.”

  • I filed my lawsuit in 2011 in District 29 in Queens. Half the requested witnesses in my offense have been arrested or been involved in scandals that made headline news. The school is still under performing academically and now parents have threatened lawsuits against the school, the district and the Department of Education.

In 2006, a professional development workshop was attended by about 40 teachers. The topic was “gang awareness.” Rafiq Mohammed from the Giant Thinking Association gave a presentation insinuating that the Jews of Williamsburg have all their money and manipulate the power structure and employment. A typical antisemitic screed.

Since 2020, Weingarten has partnered with Michelle Obama on the When We All Vote initiative and if you think Randi Weingarten won’t help Obama’s own presidential candidacy aspirations in 2024 or 2028 then you may be sadly mistaken. Can Jews do enough to save education in America as teachers, students, parents and taxpayers? Or is it too late?

Cindy Grosz is an award-winning pro-Israel and Education activist. She works on exposing corruption in schools, improving oversight on classroom curriculum and ending anti-Semitism in education situations. She also helps educators fight discrimination in the hiring and firing practices of school staff.