Since it’s Labor Day, and everyone from President Joe Biden to Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso is paying the obligatory social media homage to Big Labor, it’s important to remember that public sector teachers unions have behaved abominably the last two years, lobbying fiercely to keep the nation’s schools under lockdown for as long as possible despite the science showing it was harming kids. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, meanwhile, has turned her union into a mouthpiece for the Democrat party—donating millions to Dems but next to nothing to Republicans—and turned herself into a social justice warrior instead of an advocate for children.
On Thursday, Weingarten admitted that teachers have become “social justice warriors,” but of course took no accountability for that herself. Instead, she claims politicians made them do it:
Very few teachers thought that they were going into teaching to be social justice warriors. That has been what has created some of the burnout. And that’s not parents. That’s politicians. Parents just want the best for their kids. And so do the teachers.
When she says politicians, she means Republicans. According to DailyMail, Weingarten has turned the union into a Democrat party fundraising ATM:
This year to date the AFT has contributed $11,338,132 to candidates, parties and Super PACS and all but $75 of those funds have gone to Democrats with a further $350,000 spent on lobbying.
In 2016 Weingarten was the first union boss to endorse Hillary Clinton. The move was slammed as ‘an insult to union democracy,’ with more than 5,000 members signing a petition calling for that endorsement to be rescinded. Yet the AFT president stood firm.
Randi Weingarten and all of the members of teachers’ unions who fought tooth and nail to keep kids locked out of school are responsible. https://t.co/wy3VkV788w
— Tom Bevan (@TomBevanRCP) September 1, 2022
Weingarten made her remarks in a back-to-school virtual townhall with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and others. Discussing the nation’s teacher shortage, she said:
It has not been easy, not just the last two years, but the inequity, the injustice, the lack of opportunity, the lack of a level playing field. And teachers are essentially the first responders to all this, and what they ask for is they ask for respect.
Respect sounds like a worthy goal, however, it has been Weingarten herself who has turned the debate over education so toxic. She argued fiercely against ending the lockdowns and has regularly spouted divisive rhetoric. Last year, she faced backlash for tweeting in support of a Washington Post op-ed titled, “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) October 25, 2021
DailyMail reports that Weingarten has often been embroiled in controversy:
On Weingarten’s watch the AFT has pushed back against schools re-opening 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.
Weingarten is not alone in fomenting dissent as head of a teachers union—Cecily Myart-Cruz, head of the LA teachers union (United Teachers Los Angeles, or UTLA), has also been on a one-woman mission to radicalize her union. On August 26, UTLA voted to boycott the first of four paid, voluntary extra learning days designed to help struggling students catch up. Instead of instructing, teachers are going to be holding a rally downtown to demand increased pay and a host of other items detailed in their “Beyond Recovery” platform.
She also notoriously claimed that students experienced no learning loss during the pandemic, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. In discussing the matter, she not only dismisses children and the pain they suffered during the crisis, but she also manages to throw in a little Jan. 6 reference:
“There is no such thing as learning loss,” she [Myart-Cruz] responds when asked how her insistence on keeping L.A.’s schools mostly locked down over the last year and a half may have impacted the city’s 600,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students. “Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.” (Emphasis mine.)
The head of the LA Teachers Union literally said “There is no such thing as learning loss.” https://t.co/2aGGCCQs38
— The Only Gary Johnson Stan (@colorblindk1d) August 26, 2022
Unions can be a force for good and became a power because they shielded workers from abusive practices by corporations. The problem with public sector unions like the AFT and UTLA, however, is that they corrupt the political process by buying their favorite candidates, then getting rewarded by those same candidates; rinse and repeat until the unions hold so much power that they can say and do what they want.
Teachers unions were no friends to kids these last two-plus years, and they have devoted themselves more to being “social justice warriors” than to actual teaching.