The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country, issued a press release that bragged about its president, Randi Weingarten, and how she “sets the record straight” against “Republican attacks.” The union even called the congressional hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic a “sham” because it allegedly unfairly targeted Weingarten.
The press release claimed that Weingarten “stands up for America’s teachers, kids,” without providing evidence that all teachers and children support AFT and its president.
Here are some of the claims that Weingarten made, according to the press release:
- AFT worked to reopen schools and keep them open during the pandemic
- AFT did not have outsized influence on federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Parents supported AFT’s stance to “safely” reopen schools
But AFT’s claims were unfounded and false:
- AFT claims that its pandemic records show that it supported reopening schools. Weingarten’s past statements, such as threatening a teachers’ strike in July 2020, demonstrated that she would not allow AFT members to work unless school districts agreed to the majority of their demands.
- AFT was heavily involved with federal agencies (like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)) to keep schools closed. For example, Weingarten admitted during the hearing that she had the phone number of CDC Director Rochelle Walenksy, to which Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Arizona) quipped that she wished she had Walensky’s number like Weingarten did.
- AFT and Weingarten do not have the support of many parents in their plan to “safely” reopen schools because the union dragged their feet to reopen schools in places like New York City and Chicago, Illinois. The creation of activist groups, such as Moms for Liberty or Parents Defending Education, are an example of how the teachers’ unions have lost the support and trust of teachers, parents, and students. Also, contentious school board meetings and elections are examples of parents rising up against teachers’ unions like AFT over their involvement in keeping schools closed during the pandemic.
It is important to note that, before the pandemic, the phrase “in-person class” was almost non-existent until the pandemic forced society to hold virtual or remote classes. It was because of fear-mongering by teachers’ unions like AFT (where virtual or remote classes were forcibly instituted without public input) that the phrase “in-person class” became a part of society’s lexicon.
Rewriting history is what the Left does and it is clear that AFT will try to revise and rewrite its history to avoid accountability from parents and students.