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Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation Teachers, speaking at a rally in Topeka, Kansas on Saturday. On Monday, she was in Nashville, Tenn., addressing a conference of education writers, where she blasted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. | Associated Press

National teachers union leader criticizes Emanuel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — National teachers union leader Randi Weingarten blasted Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday, saying "it feels that the Chicago mayor wants to kick the public [school] system in the teeth at every opportunity."

Weingarten said she toured a school recently with Chicago Teachers Union head Karen Lewis and concluded that CTU members are feeling "total and complete despair."

Their frustration is due, she said, to the lack of support they have gotten for implementing new federal Common Core standards. 



Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of a Teachers, has supported Common Core. But on a Monday she defended the CTU's recent resolution calling on state officials and the AFT to reverse their approval, saying she had been expecting the move for months.

"People keep asking for help, asking for resources, and none of that is forthcoming in Chicago," Weingarten said at the national Education Writers Association seminar in Nashville on Monday evening.

Lewis has vowed that CTU would defeat Emanuel's bid for another term next year. Asked if Lewis herself should challenge Emanuel, Weingarten said she knows Lewis well and "running for mayor is the furthest thing from her head."