When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its school reopening guidance in February, teachers unions lauded the new regulations. But one union’s plaudits likely didn’t come as a surprise to government officials, since it helped write at least two of those guidelines.
Article by Jude Schwalbach from Daily Signal.
The nonprofit watchdog group Americans for Public Trust, through a Freedom of Information Act request, obtained email exchanges between the CDC’s top officials and American Federation of Teachers’ bosses leading up to the February guidance.
In the email correspondence, Kelly Trautner, the American Federation of Teachers’ senior director of health issues, argued that agency guidelines should include this caveat: “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.”
The New York Post reported that Trautner’s language was included in the CDC’s final guidance on Page 22.
The teachers union also influenced the CDC guidance pertaining to special remote work opportunities for teachers who either “have documented high-risk conditions or who are at increased risk for … COVID-19” or who are “staff who have a household member” who is at increased risk.
While American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten brushed off the emails as “routine” correspondence, The 74’s Mike Antonucci noted that Weingarten’s own words capture the conundrum: “The problem is that it’s routine,” he wrote. This “routine” correspondence illustrates the all-too-common occurrence of teacher union lobbying setting the tone for agency guidelines.
In National Affairs, Stanford political science professor Terry Moe explained why “collective bargaining and politics go together hand in glove” for teachers unions.
Unlike unionized workers in the private sector, teachers union “members’ jobs were government jobs, their bosses were elected officials,” he explained. “This meant that by wielding power in elections, the unions could literally elect their own bosses—and ensure, so far as possible, that they would be bargaining with allies.”
Teachers unions have long used their political clout to stifle innovations that could improve U.S. education, such as charter schools, school choice, or hybrid education options, and have supported political candidates who favor teachers union interests.
For instance, between 2019 and 2020, the largest teachers unions—the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association—collectively gave more than $6.7 million to Democratic candidates, whereas Republican candidates received less than 2% of that amount.
In 2020, the largest recipient of teachers union donations, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, received nearly $261,000, more than four times the amount received by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., whose campaign was the second-largest recipient of donations from teachers unions.
Teachers union interference in politics to block education reforms—such as private school scholarships or charter schools—that could threaten union jobs isn’t new, however. For instance, unions were instrumental during the Obama administration in the “unabashed dismantling” of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a private school scholarship for low-income students residing in the nation’s capital.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic, teachers unions have not been afraid to use political victories to their advantage.
For instance, teachers unions demanded coronavirus vaccination priority for their members. Hoping to expedite school reopenings, all states except Montana made teachers eligible for the vaccine by the end of March. According to the CDC, nearly 80% of teachers, school staff, and child care providers had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of April 6.
At the same time, the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal, widely lauded by teachers unions, would deliver hundreds of billions of new federal dollars for school improvements and additional nonteaching staff.
However, these proposals are more likely to ingratiate politicians with union leadership than help children get back to school.
These policies would only continue to exacerbate administrative bloat and waste. As per-pupil spending increased nationwide, school districts have consistently grown nonteaching staff, despite failed efforts to significantly improve student outcomes.
At the same time, education researchers have long turned a blind eye to school district fraud. Instead of bailing out district school leaders for bad decisions and unethical behavior, “State lawmakers should require school districts to clean up the books before policymakers look for ways to spend more from the budget on K-12 district schools,” wrote The Heritage Foundation’s Jonathan Butcher.
Instead of burdening future taxpayers by financially bolstering failing institutions, better policies would provide families with greater education flexibility through private school scholarships, open enrollment, and education savings accounts—all of which have been blocked by the teachers unions over time.
Moving forward, policymakers should ensure that policies are not shaped by teachers unions’ self-interests.
Specifically, states should make sure that teachers know that they are no longer required to become union members, in keeping with the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling.
At the same time, more states should empower families with greater education choice, such as education savings accounts or open enrollment. Student-centered education funding is the key to breaking the union monopoly and giving parents a greater role in education decision-making.
Policymakers should collaborate with families to ensure that education reforms aim to help children, not protect union jobs.
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are pacing to be short by about $3700 per month in order to maintain operations.
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During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
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