How Randi Weingarten and the AFT Contributed to Catastrophic Learning Losses During the Pandemic
During the COVID pandemic, we all suffered loss — loss of freedom, loss of a loved one, loss of a job or home. One can argue, however, that no one lost more than public school students, particularly those in liberal states who were subject to extended school shutdowns.
The Consequences of School Closures, Part 2
On Wednesday, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second largest teacher’s union, testified in the House Oversight Committee hearing titled “The Consequences of School Closures, Part 2.”
Weingarten took the stand after a March 2022 report from the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis revealed that the CDC had given unprecedented access to the teacher’s union, a highly political organization and major donor to the Biden campaign, to edit their school reopening guidelines. The AFT’s edits ultimately led to thousands of schools across the country remaining shuttered throughout the 2020-2021 school year, resulting in catastrophic learning losses for students, at least in liberal states whose governors she had influence over.
Opposing In-Person Learning
In July of 2020, Weingarten vehemently opposed allowing students to learn in person, she called President Trump’s call to reopen schools in the fall of 2020 “reckless, callous, and cruel.” She threatened strikes and proclaimed “nothing is off the table” if school districts decided to reopen — and she meant it.
The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) proudly announced it would not reopen unless certain conditions were met. Those conditions were that privately operated yet publicly funded charter schools are shut down, police are defunded, Medicare-for-All government-run health care is passed, a statewide wealth tax is implemented, housing for homeless is fully funded and financial Support for Undocumented Students and Families. None of the conditions had anything to do with educating students and everything to do with pushing their radical Left-wing agenda.
Shifting the Narrative
Weingarten tried to backpedal after fighting tooth and nail to keep schools shut once the data revealed her involvement and the devastating consequences. Like an arsonist posing as a firefighter, Weingarten attempted to shape-shift into a champion for reopening schools. “We know that kids learn best in person. So opening schools safely, even as the pandemic surged, guided the AFT’s every action.”
In May 2021, she wrote an article for The Atlantic advocating for schools to open. But that certainly isn’t enough to cover the tracks of her horrific crimes against children.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
So, does Weingarten actually believe Congress and the public are stupid, like they’ve had their memories wiped by a neuralyzer in “Men in Black”?
Perhaps so. On the stand, under oath I might add, the union leader denied ever advocating to keep schools closed, saying, “we spent every day trying to get schools open.”
Not only is she on record advocating for school closings, but her argument makes no sense. It was liberal governors who were following Randi’s and the CDC’s guidelines and shutting down schools. Those same liberal governors she campaigned for and spent millions of dollars putting into office. Those weren’t the people she was fighting.
It was conservative governors like Ron DeSantis she was fighting against because they weren’t giving into her political demands. They ignored her and they opened up their schools, and the students are far better off for it.
But unlike Randi Weingarten, the numbers don’t lie. A study conducted by a professor at the University of Nevada showed very clearly that there was a direct correlation between the influence of teachers unions and how slow schools were to reopen.
The Damage of School Shutdowns
Stanford University economists conducted a study which found that the pandemic learning loss could total $14.2 trillion in lost future earnings for students over the rest of this century. The study showed that if the learning losses aren’t recovered, K-12 students on average will grow into less educated, lower-skilled, and less productive adults and will earn 3% less over the course of their lives than students educated just before the pandemic. The data also found that learning loss leads to lower high school graduation rates and college enrollment as well as higher teen motherhood, arrests, and incarceration.
Scores on the 2022 National Report Card show the largest drop ever recorded in 32 years of conducting this report with an eight-point drop in eighth-grade math test scores from before the pandemic.
Sanctioning the Nefarious Union President
President John F. Kennedy famously once said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future,” but our prospects are looking bleak with such ignoble individuals like Randi Weingarten responsible for educating our country’s children.
The House Oversight Committee must sanction the nefarious union president and hold her accountable for her radical organization’s crimes against children.
Aaron Withe is the CEO of the Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit that specializes in exposing and battling abuses by government employee unions.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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