Teachers union boss Randi Weingarten is taking heat for bizarrely claiming that she fought to reopen schools during the pandemic.
She did the exact opposite.
Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second largest teacher’s labor union in America, now claims she “tried to do everything we could to reopen schools safely.”
This is four-dimensional gaslighting. Weingarten is trying to revise history. Her union aggressively pushed at both at the national and local levels to keep schools closed, making unscientific demands about safety.
this is a lie. delete your account. https://t.co/KcQXRqUBkX
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) April 28, 2023
Back in July 2020, Weingarten called the Trump administration’s plan to reopen schools in the fall “reckless,” “callous,” and “cruel.”
“It’s as if Trump and DeVos want to create chaos and want to jeopardize reopening,” Weingarten told The Guardian. “There’s no other reason why they would be this reckless, this callous, this cruel.”
Also that July, she declared that “nothing is off the table” for the teachers union to get their demands, including teacher strikes.
On Friday, Weingarten launched a broadside at the Trump administration, claiming Trump, not the teachers union, is to blame for schools staying closed.
“It would have helped if Trump/DeVos helped instead of hectored,” she tweeted. “Now we must do everything we can to help kids learn & overcome the effects of the pandemic.”
In early 2021, Weingarten and the AFT union even colluded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
On January 29, 2021, Weingarten and senior AFT staff made suggestions during a conference call with CDC members. Two of the union’s suggestions were included in the Biden administration’s COVID guidance released the next month.
One of the suggestions was to encourage schools to provide options for school staff with high-risk conditions. The other was to clarify that the government’s guidance could change based on new COVID variants.
“It made sense to consult with the CDC and it was not only appropriate for the CDC to confer with educators, it would have been irresponsible not to,” Weingarten told House lawmakers on Thursday.
Weingarten appeared before a House panel on the COVID pandemic where she was skewered by irate Republican lawmakers.
“The effect on children has been vast and to have no remorse on closing schools and keeping them closed for the length of time is unconscionable,” said Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), a medical doctor and the former director of Iowa’s health department.
Miller-Meeks said the teachers union is not a scientific organization and was “out of its league” in weighing in on COVID risks.
As early as August 2020, CDC data showed children had extremely low rates of hospitalization or death from COVID.
Later on Thursday evening, the union boss appeared on CNN, normally a friendly environment for her, and was destroyed by an angry parent on the panel.
Parent SMOKES School Board boss Randi Weingarten to her FACE LIVE on CNN for closing schools:
“I hear no remorse whatsoever about the generational damage that’s been done.”🔥
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) April 28, 2023
“I think you’ll find that most parents believe you were the tip of the spear of school closures,” said CNN commentator Scott Jennings, adding that he has four children at home including two with “learning differences.”
“There are numerous statements you made over the summer of ’20 scaring people to death about the possibility of opening schools,” Jennings said. “And I hear no remorse whatsoever about the generational damage that’s been done to these kids.”
One study from October 2020 that looked at more than 10,000 school districts found that teachers unions, more than COVID infection rates, were driving the decisions to keep schools closed.
Even as late as 2022, the Chicago Teachers Union, which is affiliated with the AFT, pushed for a return to remote learning in the country’s third-largest school district, resulting in classes being canceled for five days.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, Weingarten tweeted out a video of selective, spliced-together clips of her saying she “wants” to reopen schools.
Brutal Twitter community notes were attached to both of those tweets, pointing out that Weingarten has “misrepresented her prior positions” and her “words are not representative of her actions.”
On Wednesday, Weingarten also tweeted a link to a union press release declaring “Republican Attacks Fall Flat” on schools re-opening.
Weingarten quickly locked replies on multiple tweets as critics lit her up in the comments.
“She closed her replies like she closed the schools,” school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis tweeted.