Teachers' Union leader Randi Weingarten used leverage to keep schools closed and now denies responsibility in the face of numerous studies showing the disastrous effects on students. —Michael
MAKING EDUCATION ACCOUNTABLE
by Michael P. Ramirez April 30, 2023
There is a quote floating out there in the ether attributed to United Federation of Teachers founder and former American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker:
“When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
Nobody is certain the quote came from Al Shanker. The first reference to it was from a 1985 editorial in the Meridian newspaper in Mississippi.
The fact that it is so easily attributable to define teachers’ unions is no mistake. Teacher unions have been found to be much better at dissembling, making excuses, and insulating a broken public education system from accountability than educating children.
That was clearly on display during AFT President Randi Weingarten’s testimony on Wednesday before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. Weingarten was there primarily to defend her organization’s disastrous COVID policies and revelations of the AFT colluding with the Centers for Disease Control to keep schools closed.
Ms. Weingarten denies “conspiring” with the CDC to close schools, even though emails obtained last year through the Freedom of Information Act by Americans for Public Trust revealed a flurry of activity and communications between the AFT and the CDC.
Here is an excerpt from an article in the New York Post which reprinted some of those emails on May 1, 2021:
“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten and the AFT,” AFT senior Director of health issues Kelly Trautner wrote in a Feb 1 email-which described the union as the CDC’s “thought Partner.”
Ms. Weingarten testified that these exchanges with the CDC are “normal,” implying that the sharing of draft copies of CDC Operational Strategy is routine, and it was just one of several consultations with “more than 50 organizations.”
But according to the executive summary from the House subcommittee AFT-CDC Interference Interim report:
“Committee staff interviewed Dr. Henry Walke, a career CDC scientist and medical doctor, on February 18, 2022. Dr. Walke testified this level of coordination between the CDC and an outside organization was “uncommon.” In fact, according to Dr. Walke, the CDC does not typically share draft guidance outside the agency for any reason, even with other federal partners. This was reaffirmed during a staff-level briefing with the CDC on March 2, 2022.”
Ms. Weingarten repeatedly denied any coordination with the CDC despite the nearly verbatim adoption of AFT “suggestions” into the guidance language. She further characterized her position as advocating for in-person teaching and fighting to reopen schools.
Ms. Weingarten gets an “F” in honesty.
She must think America is stupid. She and her unions are certainly trying to ensure that our nation’s children are as well.
The truth is several scientific studies revealed that children had very little risk of severe or fatal COVID-19, with limited transmission among students. Even so, teacher unions, progressive politicians and the Biden administration continued to advocate to keep schools closed,
The damage to children was significant.
A headline in Reason Magazine read, “New Data Show COVID School Closures Contribute to the Largest Learning Loss in Decades.
According to findings released by the Department of Education, the National Assessment of Educational Progress “declined by the largest amount ever recorded between two test administrations in fourth and eighth-grade math.” Testimony before Congress revealed that in 2022, math, reading and academic proficiency declined in every state. 37% of fourth graders in public schools were now “performing below the basic reading level” and a shocking 40% of eighth graders were “performing below the basic math level.”
But the failure in public education has been happening way before COVID hit.
The U.S. consistently scores at the bottom level in reading and writing comprehension, science and math proficiency in comparison to other advanced industrialized nations. In the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) average scores in math, science and reading, the United States ranked 25th. Among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science, even while spending 34% higher than the average of the OECD in elementary and secondary education and double the average in post-secondary education.
These scores were BEFORE COVID.
The problem lies at the heart of our public education system. The government-run educational monopoly is a monolithic, unaccountable bureaucracy that is more interested in social engineering and protecting jobs, than teaching the fundamentals of education.
It is far more dangerous and harmful to children than COVID-19.
It begs the question, why are schools and teachers more concerned with progressive brainwashing, identity politics, political correctness, WOKENESS, and sexualizing children, when their students are failing in math, science and reading?
Teachers are constantly complaining about limited resources, even though our per-pupil spending is fifth in the world. Perhaps, they should focus on teaching the basic pillars of education, the learning that will help students be globally competitive and successful in the future, and leave child-rearing and child development to the parents, where it belongs.
The most dangerous pathogen that threatens children today, is an educational system that promotes mediocrity and failure.
The cure is competition and accountability.
It’s not enough to make kids “feel” better. It is much more important to ensure they perform better, with reliable testing and analytics to prove it.
Accountability and School Choice will pressure our public education system and teachers to perform better, and do a better job educating children. Institutions will be judged by results. Those that produce good scores will succeed. Those that fail will either improve, reform, or be replaced.
Our children are already paying their dues from the effects of a failed education system on their future. It is time to fix that. Changing education to focus on math, science and reading, and instituting a system that emphasizes accountability over job security will do that.
In the end, it is the interests of the children and our nation that will be served.
Ironically, in the later part of his career, Al Shanker was for school reform.
In a 1993 speech on Education Reform Albert Shanker said, “The key is that unless there is accountability, we will never get the right system. As long as there are no consequences if kids or adults don’t perform, as long as the discussion is not about education and student outcomes, then we’re playing a game as to who has the power.”
Public education is doing more than failing the honesty test, they are failing our kids.
Public education needs accountability. It’s pretty obvious you are NOT going to get it from Randi Weingarten.
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Union Leaders prefer shut downs because it makes it easier to conceal the "No Show Jobs" a la Tony Soprano when no one else reports to work either.