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OPINION

Teachers’ Unions’ Tight Grip on Democrats is Here to Stay

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

The pandemic laid bare the duplicity of teachers’ unions and the Democrats who embolden them. Together, the disastrous duo delivered two decades worth of learning loss to America’s children. As midterms approach, common sense would dictate that vulnerable Democrats distance themselves from the same teachers’ unions that led the charge to keep schools closed, forcibly mask children and mandate vaccines for schools. Instead, Democrats are leaning into their past failures and showing where their priorities lie for the future. One thing’s for sure, they won’t be siding with America’s children over teachers’ unions anytime soon.

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Joe Biden and far-left teachers’ unions worked hand-in-hand to slow-roll a return to in-person learning and the results have been devastating. Nine-year-olds who suffered through remote learning are losing ground in math and we have seen reading test scores fall by the largest margin in more than 30 years. Studies show that the pandemic was particularly devastating for minority students. Of course, it wasn’t just the lockdowns that harmed America’s children. Democrat mask mandates acutely affected the learning and development of younger students. My heart breaks for children who have suffered under the exceptionally heavy weight of draconian COVID mandates. At the same time, I remain continuously thankful for the free state of Florida, which bucked many of these same restrictions – and our students are better off because of it.

Democrats used mandates to tell Americans: it’s my way or the highway. So, Americans took the highway straight down to Florida, where students could go to school and breathe freely. Florida’s Republican leadership faced criticism and unfounded attacks along the way, but we prevailed and Florida students are better off because of it. As a result of keeping our schools open, student grades far exceeded expectations during the 2021-2022 academic year. Additionally, Florida schools were just ranked third in the nation in 4th grade Reading and ranked third in Math by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Our kids clearly benefitted because the GOP stood with them, kept kids in school throughout 2020 and 2021 and didn’t cave to unions like Democrats. Florida’s success coupled with studies showing that lockdowns did more harm than good should be reason enough for Democrats to ditch their union with special interests. 

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Unfortunately for parents and students, teachers’ union boss Randi Weingarten’s grip on Democrats is only getting tighter. Take for example gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. In addition to bragging about large donations from teachers’ unions, he also chose the Randi Weingarten of Florida as his running mate. Similarly, Val Demings couldn’t wait to campaign with Randi Weingarten, whom she calls “amazing.” Florida Democrats must have missed the post-mortem for anti-parent candidate Terry McCauliffe, who put the final nail in the coffin of his electoral chances by campaigning with Randi Weingarten. Not only have Florida Democrats had ample time to learn from other Democrats like McCauliffe’s mistakes, they’ve also seen their own state succeed by rebuking those very same teachers’ unions. However, instead of admitting they were wrong in their calls for lockdowns and vaccine and mask mandates, Democrats are making it crystal clear that they’re all in for teachers’ unions, not children.

As midterms near, a split screen between Democrats and Republicans shows voters all they need to know about priorities. On one side, you have Democrats bragging about their close-knit relationship with teachers’ unions, despite the well-known impacts of school lockdowns. On the other hand, you have Florida Republicans like me who passed Florida’s first school choice bill and have continuously fought to ensure parents have a strong voice and choice when it comes to their child’s education. That’s why I received an “A” grade from Moms for America, an organization that fights tooth and nail against Democrat overreach in schools to empower parents.

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Come November, voters will judge me by my pro-parent record and Democrats’ refusal to apologize for their lack of one.

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