Randi Weingarten Complains About Politicization of Schools, but Has Only Herself to Blame

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

(The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)

The American Federation of Teachers held its annual convention last week in Boston, and AFT President Randi Weingarten opened the festivities with a speech that could have been read at the Democratic National Convention rather than a meeting of educators.


“It is impossible to capture all we have been through the past two years,” Weingarten said. “A pandemic, and a plot to overturn a presidential election. Mask wars, culture wars, a war on truth, and a war in Ukraine.”

She continued:

“Racism and the fear and trauma it inflicts. An extremist majority on the Supreme Court that eviscerated the Constitution’s separation of church and state, overturned Roe, and hobbled Miranda, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the states’ ability to keep their citizens safe – all in a single month.”

What does any of this have to do with educating America’s school children?

Later in the same speech, Weingarten asked:

“Why do we feel under attack all the time? Why are some people blaming us for problems outside our control – whether caused by the pandemic, poverty, bad policies, or inadequate funding? Why are our opponents going DEFCON 1 – with sleazy lies about grooming and calling teachers pedophiles? Why are Fox News and some GOP officials spreading these conspiracies and other hateful ideas, which social media stokes and amplifies?”

She can’t possibly have this little self-awareness.

For the last two years, our national teachers’ unions have proven they are political entities first and foremost, and educating our children is an afterthought to their radical agenda.


Randi Weingarten leaned on the Centers for Disease Control to keep schools shut down longer than they needed to because teachers’ unions across the country were using the pandemic as a strike they didn’t have to call in order to extract perks and policies they wouldn’t have been able to achieve at a typical bargaining table.

Whether it was being moved to the front of the vaccine line, hazard pay, or teaching class online from a beach in Puerto Rico, many teachers’ union leaders decided there were benefits to staying out of the classroom.

Thankfully, forcing more parents to host “Zoom school” in their living rooms also brought a degree of transparency to the indoctrination the teachers’ unions have been pushing for years.

Parents didn’t like what they saw, whether it was Critical Race Theory, discussions about teachers’ sex lives, or straight-out pornography as assigned reading. And when parents started showing up to school board meetings to make their voices heard, they were called racists and terrorists by Weingarten and the National School Boards Association.

We are only just beginning to see the damaging effects the prolonged school lockdowns, continued mask mandates, and social isolation the teachers’ unions inflicted on our children, but the AFT and National Education Association (NEA) both focused their national conventions this month on overturning Florida’s parental rights law, protecting the teaching of Critical Race Theory, and condemning the Supreme Court.


The NEA even discussed a proposal to change the words “mother” and “father” to “birthing parent” and “non-birthing parent,” and to impose mandatory masking and COVID vaccines in schools, while the AFT expressed support for transgender athletes in girls’ sports.

Our kids are dangerously behind in reading and math and NEA and AFT are focused on divisive politics that have nothing to do with getting those kids back on track.

So it should be no surprise that teachers feel under attack.

Unfortunately, the good, honest teachers who just wanted to get back in the classroom and teach their students how to read and complete math functions have been lumped in with the progressive activists, as they’ve all been used as pawns in the union leaders’ political games.

I know this first-hand because my wife is a public school teacher and I’ve watched her agonize over the education loss of her students.

Just ahead of the AFT’s convention last week, Weingarten released an internal poll that admitted nine out of 10 teachers say schools are too politicized and 40 percent say they may leave their job in the next two years.

That’s after, during the 2020-21 school year alone, the NEA lost 60,000 members and the AFT lost 22,000 – more than two percent of both organizations’ membership. That’s the equivalent of their union affiliates in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and Philadelphia combined.


It’s important to remember that Albert Shanker, Randi Weingarten’s predecessor at AFT, famously said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

Weingarten has been demonstrating that theme out in the open since March 2020 but fortunately, people are getting fed up and every teacher who resigns their membership and stops paying dues equals approximately $1,000 that won’t go into Weingarten’s progressive political coffers.

Aaron Withe is the CEO of the Freedom Foundation. www.FreedomFoundation.com


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