Last week, we highlighted a tweet from top teachers' union boss Randi Weingarten, showing off the airplane in which she was jetting around the country to conduct in-person meetings. Weingarten -- a major Biden ally and a key player in a powerful Democratic special interest lobby -- also raised eyebrows by deflecting pointed questions about re-opening schools by launching an identity-focused attack on Jews who've joined in the criticism:
Nearly half the country’s public school students are still attending school remotely, a product of complicated logistics, parent preferences and, at least in some places, resistance by teachers to returning to in-person instruction. This last force has generated criticism of teachers’ unions, such as Weingarten’s, for exercising outsized force in the lives of American families. Why should the teachers union in San Francisco or Los Angeles, for example, get to overrule the wishes of families who want their children in school? It’s a question that angers Weingarten — and she has a specific message for US Jews who have joined in the criticism. “American Jews are now part of the ownership class,” she said. “What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it. Am I saying that everything we do is right? No. Are people in Los Angeles fearful? Yes.”
This utterly bizarre statement suggests that Jewish Americans are somehow betraying other communities by...wanting public schools open for classroom learning, in accordance with the science? Education is the true ladder of opportunity, yet many of Weingarten's members have done everything within their considerable power to avoid providing an effective education to students for the last year, which is their whole job. A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined the impact of remote learning on students in the Netherlands -- a nation thought to offer something of an ideal test market for the efficacy of online classes during pandemic lockdowns. Why? "The Netherlands is interesting as a 'best-case' scenario, with a short lockdown, equitable school funding, and world-leading rates of broadband access," the report states. Yet "despite favorable conditions," here was the result:
“we find that students made little or no progress while learning from home”— Newman Nahas (@NahasNewman) April 10, 2021
“Learning loss was most pronounced among students from disadvantaged homes.” https://t.co/wD2OGCfBuB
This finding, which is both intuitive and academically-substantiated, turns Weingarten's absurd 'ladder of opportunity' calumny on its head. Furthermore, given the identitiarian Left's obsession with "equity," shouldn't this statistical inequity constitute an unforgivable outrage?
White students continued to be far more likely to be back in the classroom, with 52% of white fourth graders receiving full-time, in-person instruction. By contrast, less than a third of Black and Hispanic fourth graders were back at school full time, along with just 15% of Asian students...The results do not indicate whether students are learning remotely by choice or because their schools do not offer an in-person option. The mismatch between what schools are offering and what students are getting is at least partly explained by big urban districts that have been slow to offer in-person options.
One way that unions and their apologists are trying to downplay the harm they've intentionally inflicted on children is by arguing that the true harm is measuring and talking about learning loss. They're actually framing any effort at accountability as 'traumatic' for the children whose interests they have steadfastly refused to serve:
Research shows many young children have fallen behind in reading and math. But some educators are worried about stigmatizing an entire generation...Others go further, arguing that regardless of what terminology is used, standardized testing to measure the impact of the pandemic is unnecessary or even actively harmful. Voices as prominent as the former New York City schools chancellor, Richard Carranza, and the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state’s largest educators’ union, have encouraged parents to opt their children out of state tests during the pandemic. “We do not want to impose additional trauma on students that have already been traumatized,” Mr. Carranza said. This week, the nation’s largest school system, in New York City, announced that parents would have to opt their children in to state standardized testing, which could lead to a smaller group of students taking the exams, and results that will be difficult to interpret. Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle high school teacher and writer, said testing to measure the impact of the pandemic misses what students have learned outside of physical classrooms during a year of overlapping crises in health, politics and police violence.
What a dog's breakfast of nonsense. The "stigma" should be attached to the adults responsible for choices that have shoved kids further and further behind. And there won't be a 'lost generation' because many kids within this generation have been thriving in classrooms all year. The harm is targeted, based on adults' choices, which is why standardized testing that threatens to expose certain adults' failures are being assailed by those same certain adults as supposedly 'imposing trauma' on children. Officials in some of the nation's bluest areas like Massachusetts and New York City are embracing this accountability-elusion racket, with the Seattle teacher brazenly living down to the most ludicrous stereotypes about his left-wing city. The important learning, you see, occurred outside of physical classrooms anyway, so it doesn't really matter that so many physical classrooms were needlessly closed. Shameless. Speaking of which, let's return to Ms. Weingarten, whose social media adventures have continued. She posted this late last week:
"Why are your in-person meetings essential? Is Zoom good enough for kids, but not union leaders?" I asked in reply. I also couldn't help but notice how closely these union officials were seated next to one another. Weingarten recently wrote a letter to the Biden administration baselessly objecting to updated CDC guidance that permitted three feet of physical distancing between (low risk) students in classrooms, as opposed to six feet. This complaint was presented, of course, as a "safety" concern, but what almost certainly motivated the science-denying missive was the desire of teachers unions to continue to use outdated distancing recommendations as an excuse to keep classrooms closed, or to hire more faculty to accommodate spread out classes. If Weingarten and friends' feelings tell them it's "unsafe" for low-risk children to sit three feet apart while learning at school, how do they justify much higher-risk adults sitting around a crowded table at a restaurant for a union planning meeting that evidently must be held in person, indoors, and in close quarters? It's all an insulting scam, and I fear that this is close to the truth, either on a subconscious or overt level:
Most of what's going on here (this tweet; the private jet pic; the comments about Jews, etc) is a very conscious and intentional F-you to the little people. Teachers unions own the Dems, and the Dems are in power. Randi knows she's untouchable, and wants us to know. https://t.co/dqRIH2YKQw— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) April 9, 2021
I'll leave you with two glimmers of good news on this front. In New York, a substantial number of parents are voting with their feet -- and in Illinois, voters are holding elected officials to account at the ballot box:
Huge news. New York’s politicians and teachers unions have driven families away from public education. https://t.co/ZfqA4mRdbQ— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) April 8, 2021
A city in IL held a school board election. Candidate who’d spoken out against continued remote learning challenged the incumbent, a teacher who’d defended closures & decried “inequities.” The incumbent was voted out. More, please. https://t.co/duFX2Vk96i | https://t.co/WZHErv4T2P— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) April 10, 2021