The Paper of Record tries changing the record of school union head Randi Weingarten.
One sure sign of how poorly our public schools are doing may be the way that the New York Times resorts to Creative Writing as they show how they struggle with history. The paper has delivered a bizarre profile that is glowing in its praise of national teachers’ union President Randi Weingarten as a champion for opening schools. This, after long periods of parents in many states seeing their children languish and suffer emotionally after being forced to sequester at home at the hands of remote learning.
Opinion columnist Michelle Goldberg attempts to put lipstick on the fecal matter in the yard, by selling the concept that Weingarten is to be praised for now pushing to open schools for the benefit of children’s emotional welfare. The framing is obtuse, trying to suggest the union head is deeply concerned about student welfare, after casting them into educational purgatory for over a year. That this attempt is failing is not surprising; that it was even made, let alone published, is the surprise.
Goldberg tries to straddle two realities and fails. She has the need to address the blatant truth that kids have endured problems as a result of school closures, but then tries to recast Weingarten as the champion against such moves.
But those who fault Weingarten for closed schools misunderstand the role she’s played over the past 20 months. Rather than championing shutdowns, she’s spent much of her energy, both in public and behind the scenes, trying to get schools open.
How exactly can one write that with a straight face, when we all witnessed Weingarten giving vocal support to school closures?! Last summer she angrily called President Trump’s call to bring kids back to school that fall “unconscionable.” When a growing tide of parents, state politicians, and some media outlets were pushing to bring kids back to schools, Weingarten resisted this sternly as she promoted the plan for teachers to go on strike as a response.
The union released a plan of action that detailed the steps they were looking to be met before openings could take place. Among those were stipulations not for schools, but other aspects of the community – “Investment in public health and in our schools, universities, hospitals, and local and state governments. Strengthening communities should be a priority in the recovery.”
The teachers union in Los Angeles (UTLA) went even further, dictating that they would not reopen schools until demands were met, a list that included numerous non-education-related stipulations such as defunding of police, new wealth taxes on California’s wealthy residents, and nationwide Medicare-for-All. It was still this spring when Weingarten was defending that UTLA position, suggesting that Jewish parents were behind the push to bring kids back to classes.
Perhaps the biggest repudiation of Weingarten’s severe lockdowns was seen in the state of Florida, where governor Ron DeSantis defied the union’s desire to keep schools shuttered, opening classes back up in the fall of 2020. The hysterics from Weingarten and her pliant allies in the press, claiming DeSantis was seeking to kill students, were completely blasted into dust. Not only were there no massive spikes in cases seen among the kids in school, but as I covered earlier this year, a study found that the incident rates in Florida schools were lower than seen in the communities where the schools were located.
And this was accomplished well before the vaccines arrived and were approved for school-aged children. That reality should have served as evidence that refuted the union’s position, but instead, in a fashion similar to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s sainthood, Weingarten maintains her status in the press as an authority over school management despite her disastrous record. This blatantly partisan and laughably inept attempt at recasting Weingarten as a hero and not the educational villain she has been for years shows how out of touch with reality the media has been.