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OPINION

Expect the Same Familiar Lies From Randi Weingarten on Capitol Hill Today

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Seth Wenig,File

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), will testify this afternoon in front of the House Oversight Committee regarding about a March 2022 report revealing the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) had granted AFT ⎯ a highly political organization and a major donor to President Joe Biden’s campaign ⎯ an unprecedented opportunity to shape its school reopening guidelines at the height of the COVID pandemic. 

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Not surprisingly, the union’s edits ultimately led to thousands of schools across the country remaining padlocked throughout the 2020-21 school year, resulting in catastrophic learning loss, in addition to physical and emotional challenges for millions of students nationwide. 

Republicans, who hold a majority in the House, will be loaded for bear as they grill the union president. Communications between the union and CDC show AFT was given unfettered access to the agency’s guidelines two weeks before they were made public  ⎯  ample time for union operatives to craft a plan aligned with their radical left-wing agenda. 

House members will seek to unravel why a private organization was allowed to tailor public policy and who approved the action. 

Weingarten, knowing how serious a matter this is, has retained renowned white-collar defense attorney Michael Bromwich to represent her at the hearing. 

The former Justice Department inspector general, Bromwich is expected to minimize Weingarten's role in crafting the guidelines that kept children out of school. According to the attorney, “AFT’s role was extremely limited. It proposed changes that amounted to a few sentences in a 38-page document.” 

But anyone with a room temperature IQ understands it only takes one word to change the entire meaning of the document. The few sentences altered by AFT included updated regulations in light of new variants and a “trigger” threshold designed to keep schools closed based on the rate of positive cases, which succeeded in locking kids out of the classroom for a significantly longer period of time.

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In July 2020, Weingarten vehemently opposed allowing students to learn in person, even threatening a strike if her demands weren’t met. “(N)othing is off the table,” she said. 

And she meant it. 

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) proudly announced it would not reopen unless certain conditions were met. These included the closure of privately operated, publicly funded charter schools; defunding law enforcement; adoption of a government-run Medicare-for-all healthcare system; implementation of a statewide wealth tax; construction of fully-funded housing for the state’s homeless population; and, increased financial support for the children of illegal aliens. 

Predictably, none of the conditions had anything to do with educating students and everything to do with pushing UTLA’s radical, leftwing agenda. 

Millions of frustrated parents desperate to get their kids back to in-person learning shifted the winds of public opinion, however, and Weingarten tried to backpedal and reposition herself as a champion for opening schools. Shortly after Congress revealed the teachers’ union’s involvement in re-writing the CDC school opening guidelines, in fact, The Atlantic published an article by Weingarten in which she advocated for schools to open. 

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A master manipulator, Weingarten will be at her gaseous best during today’s hearing, almost certainly deflecting responsibility for the unprecedented disaster her policies caused, at least if her written testimony is anything to go by. 

Stanford University economists conducted a study that found the pandemic learning loss could total $28 trillion over the rest of this century. The report asserts that if the learning losses aren’t recovered, K-12 students on average will grow into less-educated, lower-skilled and less productive adults and will earn 5.6 percent less over the course of their lives than students educated just before the pandemic. 

The Stanford study also found learning loss leads to lower high school graduation rates and college enrollment as well as higher teen motherhood, arrests and incarceration. 

Scores on the 2022 National Report Card show the largest drop ever recorded in 32 years of conducting this report with an 8 point drop in eighth grade math test scores from before the pandemic. Students in Oklahoma, Delaware and West Virginia fared among the worst, with declines of about 12 points.  

President John F. Kennedy famously once said, “(C)hildren are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future,” but our prospects are looking bleak with such ignoble individuals like Randi Weingarten shaping the minds of America's children. 

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The House Oversight Committee must sanction the notorious union president and hold her accountable for her radical organization’s callous offenses against children. 

We will see if justice will be served today at 2p.m EST. 

Aaron Withe is CEO of the Freedom Foundation.

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