Teachers Unions

Randi Weingarten's Hilariously Awful Media Rehabilitation Tour

Teachers union president tries to rebrand as a school-reopener, but parents aren't having it.


A funny thing happened this week during Randi Weingarten's P.R. campaign to falsely rebrand herself as a champion of school reopening: The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president was forced to contend with actual parents who knew better.

In a C-SPAN appearance May 18, Weingarten got earfuls from callers upset about the negative influence that teachers unions have had on school quality, student preparedness, and COVID-19 response. "The part that I don't understand," said caller Larry, who described himself as an educator from North Carolina, "is, how come the parochial schools and the private schools could navigate their way through this scenario, but the public schools didn't seem to be able to manage that?"

Weingarten's answer was such dissembling, obfuscatory nonsense that it deserves to be read out in full:

So this is part of the reason why we asked the last administration to collect data on all of these things. So there were many many many public schools that have been open in a hybrid manner or in a full-time manner since September. And there have been many private schools, and many parochial schools [open]. And there have been many private and parochial schools that were not open. But we don't have the data, we have the anecdotal data. Fifteen percent, for example—a piece of data that I just got a couple of weeks ago—fifteen percent of parochial and private schools have closed fully during this period of time.

Many of the private schools that I know when I started asking them the questions about how are they doing this because we have to learn from each other, they said that they got the PPP loans that was in one of the first COVID packages so that they could do the testing that I just talked about, and they could do the layers of mitigation. And they also had parents, in a couple of the private schools, they had parents who shelled out a lot more money to do that. And the parochial schools, we saw some extra space that got used in those kind of ways.

And frankly, some of us also, you know, said that every one of the schools, you know, who were serving poor people had to get additional funding, and I got criticized by my, you know, public education friends for doing that. This is a matter of we have to learn from each other. But at the end of the day, if you have a ventilation system that doesn't work, if you don't have soap and water in your schools, if you can't get soap and water, and you need to have, you know, you need to wash kids, everyone needs to wash their hands, perhaps sanitizing stations, all of those things were resource-based things that were really important.

The beginning of Weingarten's answer would make it seem like an open question whether private schools were measurably more open than public schools, because "we don't have the data." This is intentionally misleading garbage. As I wrote in February, citing one of many many many studies showing similar data (as opposed to anecdotes):

Education Next, a publication by Harvard's Program on Education Policy and Governance, surveyed 2,155 parents of 3,762 students in K-12 (both public and private) in November and December…

The private/public splits in Education Next's data are striking: 60 percent of private school students attend full-time (out of the 67 percent who say they were given that option), compared to 24 percent attending government-run public school full-time (out 37 percent being offered)[.]

Weingarten paints a dystopian picture in which schools lack soap and water, which suggests an urgent follow-up question: So what have they been spending those billions of federal dollars on? There was the $13 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020, and the $54 billion in the COVID-19 relief bill in December 2020 (both on top of the Department of Education's annual $40 billion transfer to K-12 schools). Then there was the $81 billion already spent from the March 2021 American Rescue Plan (with another $41 billion being contingent on school reopening), plus $12 billion in school testing, and an estimated $70 billion extra that will trickle out over the coming years.

And we're talking soap and water?

Speaking of cleaning, Weingarten, who has been trying furiously since February to convince gullible/sympathetic reporters that she's been a school-reopening champ all along, advocated as recently as, well, February, that Washington, D.C., schools close automatically for a 24-hour scrub-down after a single positive COVID test, even though the science has been clear since at least the summer of 2020 that the virus is not being spread on surfaces.

To this day, even after delivering a big speech May 13 saying, "There is no doubt: Schools must be open. In person. Five days a week," Weingarten has continued to attach caveats and conditions that make the fall a doubtful enterprise for those public school families who live in areas where teachers unions hold heavy influence. She still wants reduced class sizes, maximal masking, distance-educating carveouts for teachers still scared to teach in class, and extra district/state monies in addition to the federal bonanza. She still warns darkly about variants, and says stuff like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent masking relaxation for vaccinated people "portends a potential surge of the virus."

So while Weingarten and her teachers union allies may still get some sympathetic ears in the press, there is something enjoyable about watching her have to confront the regular people in whose name she extracts ever more money from the government. At least until the bailout money can no longer cover the enrollment collapse.

NEXT: A New Study Confirms That Reopening Texas '100 Percent' Had No Discernible Impact on COVID-19 Cases or Deaths

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  1. She’s the union president and the union members would rather teach in pjs, if at all. My daughter has one virtual day a week and since February they don’t even bother to have class meetings. They just assign work to be done during the day and neve even check in with the kids. She spends most of the day on TikTok telling me it’s “for school”.

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    2. One thing we have learned in the past year………..educating our children is not considered an essential service……….at least not by progressive politicians and the teachers unions

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    3. Don’t send your kids to government schools.

  2. OT. Matt Taibbi on Apple’s retarded and disingenuous wokery.

    Hypocrisy by the complainers, and defamatory cowardice by the bosses — about right for the Invasion of the Body Snatchers-style era of timorous conformity and duncecap monoculture the woke mobs at these places are trying to build as their new Jerusalem.

    Garcia-Martinez is a brilliant, funny, multi-talented Cuban-American whose confessional memoir Chaos Monkeys is to big tech what Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker was to finance. A onetime high-level Facebook executive — he ran Facebook Ads — Antonio’s book shows the House of Zuckerberg to be a cult full of on-the-spectrum zealots who talked like justice activists while possessing the business ethics of Vlad the Impaler:

    1. Vlad Tepeș dealt appropriately (for the time) with his previous Austrian and Ottoman masters. Hundreds of years later the Turks still know who he is.

      1. Read that Taibbi article. Martinez is pretty talented with the pen as well. To wit:

        Most women in the Bay Area are soft and weak, cosseted and naive despite their claims of worldliness, and generally full of shit. They have their self-regarding entitlement feminism, and ceaselessly vaunt their independence, but the reality is, come the epidemic plague or foreign invasion, they’d become precisely the sort of useless baggage you’d trade for a box of shotgun shells or a jerry can of diesel.

        1. Why wait for a plague?

          1. Even the low level plague we just went through proved the man right. As far as I’m concerned a SHRM certificate might as well be a cattle tag.

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        2. When college students are educated to believe the proper response to any level of microconfrontation is retreat to a “Safe Space,” they never learn that zombies smell a Safe Space and say, “Yum!”

        3. With these women getting their feathers ruffled having the ironic effect of demonstrating that the claim he wasn’t even actually making is, in fact, accurate.

        4. There’s a reason the Bielskis and other rural Jews termed the urban Jews who came out to the forest as “malbushim.”

    2. clearly youre a one note moron. muted

  3. Ban ’em.

  4. We’re inching ever so close to this publication fully acknowledging the near total capture of journalism by one political party and its impact on public policy.

    1. Just more wisdom-of-crowd coincidences in the daily perusal of that which passes for modern journalism.

    2. Afterthought: Your comment puts me in mind of a quip by Michael Malice (who has a frustrating talent for making me see some things in unique ways which I wish I had thought of):

      “Most people think the press is an arm of the DNC, I believe the DNC is an arm of the press.”

      1. I was once quoted on Malice’s show. True story.

    3. “We’re inching ever so close to this publication fully acknowledging the near total capture of journalism by one political party and its impact on public policy.”

      THAT is an interesting and enlightening statement from you.

  5. She’s the Union boss; the perfect outcome for her and the AFT would be lifetime employment, generous benefits, full pensions and never having to work at all.

    Or least work as little as possible toward that end, there’s a concession for you.

    The dissembling is just cover for their real agenda.

  6. What a lying piece of shit – she’s always been in favor of schools opening “as soon as it’s safe”, with an impossible standard for what’s “safe”.

    1. See the picture. I think Randy is a guy.

      1. “See the picture. I think Randy is a guy.”

        Not sure, but it’s a face made for radio.

    2. Driving to school is more dangerous than wuflu so all of the teachers are staying home

      1. Checkmate

        1. The response to those teachers should be, “No check, mate.”

          1. ZING!!! that was good! + all the internet points for today!

  7. If you needed a better reason to get your kids out of public school, I cannot think of one.

  8. There are many many many things wrong with the education industrial complex. Unions being one of them.

  9. My kids have been attending a public school since October of 2020.


    1. Check out Trumpy McTrump Supporter over here.

      1. What is your point? I don’t see any cogent comment

        1. Don’t get me killed new guy.

        2. “What is your point? I don’t see any cogent comment”

          Satirical send-up of TDS-addled shits who post here.

      2. Public schools where I live have been open since August. The local paper I work for just published the fifth set of six-week honor rolls. Sports and academic teams are winning awards. I interview a teacher every week for our “Teacher Feature,” and every one of them says, “Thank God we’re back in the classroom.”

        And yes, a lot of them would take President Trump over President Biden, any day of the week. It’s a rural area, and we judge by results, not promised benefits.

    2. They probably play outside too. Hmmpf.

      1. Mine is in a “hybrid” schedule. Half day in person, 4 classes. For 3, teacher is zooming in from home and kids log in from school. There’s a sub there to watch them.
        Fuck the system that allowed this, fuck the teachers that jumped the vax line but refuse to go back.

  10. I am not anti-teacher – both of my parents, my sister and two of my grandparents were teachers – but the teacher’s unions make the mob look like the Salvation Army. They don’t care one whit about children or parents. Their standard ‘reduce class size’ line means ‘hire more teachers so I have more dues to spend.’ Unions for public teachers should be banned. The school system is a de facto monopoly and the teacher’s unions act as its enforcement arm. If they don’t get what they want, they go on strike and disrupt the lives of millions who have no say in anything. They are, in fact, extortionists. If people have not figured out during this pandemic that the teachers’ unions are working against the interests of the country, they’re blind.

    1. Better solution: work for the state (or the feds), forfeit your right to vote for state (or federal) candidates.

  11. “So while Weingarten and her teachers union allies may still get some sympathetic ears in the press…”

    They both have the same goal. Keep people scared so they’ll obey.

  12. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/24/882316641/what-parents-can-learn-from-child-care-centers-that-stayed-open-during-lockdowns

    Throughout the pandemic, many child care centers have stayed open for the children of front-line workers — everyone from doctors to grocery store clerks. YMCA of the USA and New York City’s Department of Education have been caring for, collectively, tens of thousands of children since March, and both tell NPR they have no reports of coronavirus clusters or outbreaks.
    Printed in June 2020. Before masks were even a thing.

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  14. I agree with what this friend said, she is the boss of the union; for her and AFT, the ideal result will be lifetime employment, generous benefits, adequate pensions, and no need to work at all.
    Or work as little as possible for this purpose, which is your concession.
    Demolition is just a cover for their real agenda.

  15. I have to believe that all this will eventually backfire on the left. I’m painting with a big brush here. But when everything you do is so counterintuitive to common sense. I.E. school closings, white privilege, CRT, 1619, riots, defund police….etc….. Sooner or later it’ll bite you in the ass. Foolishly optimistic? Maybe. But if I’m wrong it’s all lost anyway. I don’t argue with these flat earthers anymore. I just say “your wrong” and move on. Stop paying attention to these idiots. They feed of our anger.

    1. They get away with it because most people are not engaged enough to look past the surface. I was reading a story today about a proposed bill to ban teaching critical race theory and the 1619 project and the phrasing was ‘RePuBliKKKlan’s want to ban teaching about slavery!11!11!111!!!1111″

      Too many in this country are dumb enough to fall for that.

  16. more proof that union heads are overpaid arrogant dopes who prey on the sheep who think unions are good simply because they exist.

  17. She, like her union, is a cancer on America.

  18. My oldest will be attending kindergarten soon, so I wanted to find out what the mask requirements are (because he definitely won’t be attending any school that requires them) and I found two articles:
    Article #1. About impassioned parents trying unsuccessfully to get rid of the mandates and some condescending quotes from a superintendent saying essentially that the parents can pound sand and they might not even get rid of them next year
    Article #2. Wailing about significant drops in enrollment in said district which could significantly impact funding

    Their total lack of self awareness is the only amusing thing about this shitshow

  19. She is a hack just like Gettelfinger. I remember when the latter was having a ball on golf courses when he had his UAW minions on strike when they had one of the highest paid gigs in my county as the economy was imploding in ’08. They all lost their jobs in the end (and rightfully so) and Gettelfinger just kept enjoying the links.

  20. Why is California so insistent on the June 15 reopening date, when everyone else is reopening sooner? Would it help to learn that reopening stages tend to come out on a Tuesday, and that Friday June 11 is the last day of school for LAUSD.

  21. When I saw that photo, my first thought was, “Wow, so Bill Gates has come out as a woman. No wonder Melinda is getting a divorce from them.” Then I realized who the photo is actually of. Yeesh

  22. Unions, and especially union leaders, have devolved into a cheap and hollow shell of their past. There was a time when workers conditions and their treatment required unions. There may be employers in very rare situations where their conduct deserves a union. Unions and unionization efforts today have all of the altruism of an insurance policy premium and sign up campaign. The teachers unions have NOTHING to do with the best interests of students or their education. Teachers unions deplore and detest parents of students. FDR was correct in not favoring public sector unions. The union’s goals and motivations are antithetical to the function and role of government. Unfortunately, the democrats are beholden to the unions and the unions are enabled in academia and the media institutions.

    1. Well, they are Teacher’s unions not Student unions, or even School unions.

  23. If any good is to come out of this pandemic it will be that people finally realize that teachers’ unions are not about ‘the children.’

  24. Realy

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  27. It was Trump’s fault and they want Mo’ Money. Got it.

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