Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, is expected to endorse Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president at a rally Saturday night in Houston, according to a source familiar with the endorsement.
Weingarten is backing Warren in her personal capacity. The 1.7 million-member AFT has encouraged local unions and members to support either Warren, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or former Vice President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination to challenge President Donald Trump.
The endorsement could provide a jolt of support for Warren ahead of Super Tuesday, when voters will decided how to award roughly one-third of the pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Warren is counting on a strong Super Tuesday performance in California, Texas, Massachusetts and elsewhere to make up for middling results in the early states.
The decision by Weingarten, who was a prominent backer of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential primaries, is likely to frustrate some local affiliates and members who have chosen to back Sanders. Several AFT affiliates, most notably the United Teachers of Los Angeles, have backed the democratic socialist’s presidential bid.
Many large national unions have been unable to reach a consensus on who to endorse in the crowded Democratic primary field. But Sanders has succeeded in winning the support of more local affiliates than any other candidate.
“A game changer for our public schools”
Weingarten has praised Warren in the past, calling the Massachusetts senator’s education plan “a game changer for our public schools and the 90 percent of America’s students who attend them.”
Warren has promised to name a former public school teacher as education secretary, and to increase K-12 education funding by $100 billion over the next decade ― the equivalent of giving every school in America an extra $1 million. Warren also shares the AFT’s skepticism of charter schools and high-stakes testing.
The AFT, which also represents community college instructors, school nurses and teachers aides, is one of the two largest teachers unions in the country. The 3 million-member National Education Association is yet to endorse a candidate.