HomeSchool Reform NewsPowerful Teachers Unions Dictating Terms of Reopening to CDC, School Districts

Powerful Teachers Unions Dictating Terms of Reopening to CDC, School Districts

By Katy Grimes

California’s 6 million public school students have been “distance” learning from home since California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered statewide business and school closures in March 2020 – more than 425 days ago.

After several fits and starts, in December 2020 California Gov. Gavin Newsom told the state’s parents that he was aiming to have the youngest kids back in school by February, but not the state’s middle and high schoolers.

Immediately, the California Teachers Association jumped in and said campuses should not reopen until counties reach the state’s red tier of infections.

Parents laughed when Newsom claimed to be suffering along with everyone else: “As a parent of very young children, in-person instruction, there’s just no substitute for it,” said Newsom, a father of four young kids who had been back in their private school since November.

But talk of a full reopening of the state’s public schools was quashed when the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers quickly mobilized members and made clear that they opposed any state attempt to override local decision-making, Politico reported.

The CFT also added a new caveat: classroom, in-person instruction would hinge on the vaccine rollout and timeline.

What we didn’t know, was at the same time, the national teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, had been lobbying the Centers for Disease Control on, and even suggested language for the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February, the New York Post reported. “The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.”

The Post reported:

The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly-anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.

“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,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”

“The lobbying paid off,” the Post said. “In at least two instances, language ‘suggestions’ offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim into the final text of the CDC document.”

“The CDC was preparing to write that schools could provide in-person instruction regardless of community spread of the virus, when the CFT argued for the inclusion of a line reading “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.” That language appeared on page 22 of the final CDC guidance.”

The CDC even admitted during a press conference that it based its new school guidelines on science, but also input from teachers and stakeholders, Legal Insurrection reported.

Corrupt politics at the highest levels of local, state and federal government, rather than science, led to school children languishing and suffering for more than one year. But parents were told “it’s the science” keeping kids away from in-classroom learning. We still don’t know why older students were kept out of the classroom.

Studies since just last fall show Elementary and high schools are not COVID-19 super-spreaders, including a Brown University study found. Statistics involving 200,000 school kids from 47 states in fall 2020 yielded an overall coronavirus infection rate of just .13 percent among students and .24 percent for staffers, according to Brown University economics Professor Emily Oster and her team of number-crunchers, the Post reported.

The AFT and its state affiliates, as well as the CTA have long been deep pocketed donors of the Democratic party, dropping almost $20 million to elect party members during the 2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Teachers unions and “educators” donated almost six times more to Biden than Trump in the 2020 election, the Center for Responsive Politics reported. “All of Biden’s largest sources of money in the field come from individuals affiliated with universities. Top donors include employees of the University of California (about $1.4 million), Stanford University ($595,000) and Harvard University ($510,000).

 

Originally published by the California Globe. Republished with permission.

Katy Grimes
Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?

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