Newly revealed emails detailed by the New York Post have exposed how the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and its boss Randi Weingarten exerted significant influence over the Biden administration. They even managed to shape the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) school reopening guidance, which halted the full reopening of in-person classes.
This bombshell comes just ahead of Weingarten’s testimony before the Congressional Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. The CDC has characterized the apparent collusion between the teachers’ union and the Biden administration as a matter of the latter merely seeking input from the former, but critics suggest the the records obtained by the conservative watchdog Americans for Public Trust expose something insidious about the influence dark money can buy and the ostensible willingness of the CDC to conform scientific guidance to political pressure.”
The New York Post reported on additional records concerning the communications between Weingarten and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in the week leading up to the Feb. 12, 2021 announcement of the “Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools Through Phased Mitigation” guidance. This dashed any hopes that American children might return to in-person classes en masse. Walensky, deemed the “most dangerous person in the world” by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, took two calls from Weingarten ahead of the announcement.
The CDC, the Biden White House, and the AFT coordinated not only on the language of the guidance, but also on how it would be presented to the press. According to the Post, emails revealed that the CDC had followed up with Weingarten and National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle after both had spoken to Walensky in advance of the guidance’s release.
Americans for Public Trust previously released emails received from a Freedom of Information Act request, which showcased successful efforts by the teachers’ unions to shape the CDC’s reopening guidance. The Post noted that the AFT successfully recommended that the CDC employ specific language in its 2021 guidelines.
While the CDC was originally prepared to permit in-school instruction regardless of transmission rates, it ultimately caved to the union. The guidance called for “virtual only instruction” for middle and high school students in “high transmission” communities.
The extent of the Biden administration’s desire to bend to the will of the teachers’ unions was further illuminated in an email from AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner to Walensky, which said, “We are immensely grateful for your genuine desire to earn our confidence and your commitment to partnership.”
Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust, told the Post, “Randi Weingarten colluded with the Biden administration to put politics over science, threatening the well-being of children.” TheBlaze previously reported that the closures sought by the teachers’ unions have driven a significant spike not just in the academic ability of American children, but also spikes in mental illness, suicide, and obesity.
Sutherland further stressed that Weingarten’s “multiple calls, emails, and non-scientific recommendations to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and her team illustrate the level of dark money influence that was allowed to shape school reopening policies.”
Congress must hold Weingarten and the teachers unions accountable for their actions.