One would think that teachers’ unions should be impartial and neutral when it comes to the divisive politics of the day. But that is far from the truth, based on comments made during the annual Teach conference for the left-wing teachers’ union, American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The conference took place last month and it was full of political partisanship and misinformation.
The featured speaker was current Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who leaned into AFT’s left-wing politics. For example, in an apparent reference to the Republican-majority Congress and parental rights activists, he declared, “You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
He also mentioned that his wife, Marissa, is a dues-paying union member to AFT. Yet he did not acknowledge that he used to be a member of AFT, which could be considered a conflict-of-interest issue due to his position as chief executive of the country’s education agency.
Cardona praised teachers for enduring the political games of today’s education landscape and heaped praise onto Weingarten for “fearless leadership.”
Following Cardona, AFT President Randi Weingarten echoed Cardona’s political language.
She held up public education as a monolithic entity that unites America and claimed, “As extremists try to divide Americans from one another, they know that public schools unite us.” Weingarten also said that a recent congressional hearing was “a whole hearing in my name” as she was grilled for her role in keeping schools closed during the pandemic. The teachers’ union president falsely claimed that her and the union tried to keep schools open by pointing to the union’s school reopening plan.
Just because the union issued a plan on reopening schools does not mean that the union wanted schools reopened. After all, AFT dragged its feet in places like Chicago to fully reopen schools, where parents protested school closures.
If anything, AFT’s Teach conference highlighted the rife political partisanship that resides within teachers’ unions.