American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten shared and agreed with a report that U.S. public schools are in poor conditions, despite her union having a had in extended pandemic-related school closures.
“Exactly right!! US public schools get a D+ for poor conditions, and experts say problems are getting worse. Here’s what kids are facing,” Weingarten wrote, with a link to a CNN report.
The report highlighted underfunding, unsanitary conditions in schools and failing infrastructure. Some consistent problems included broken air conditioning and rusty water drips from ceilings, which, according to the report, have negatively affected academic performance. The problems were made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Congress gave schools $190 billion in COVID relief packages. Critics have wondered where much of the money has gone, given the poor state of education in many parts of the country. Republican lawmakers have launched an investigation into the Department of Education for allegedly using some funding to pay for “racially biased and other progressive leftist programs,” such as critical race theory.
“Randi Weingarten is posting her Ls again,” National Director of Research at the American Federation for Children Corey DeAngelis told Fox News Digital after Weingarten shared the CNN piece. “She admits the government school system that she largely controls is failing. She’s responsible for that failure. She should resign in disgrace.”
“Her lack of self-awareness is impressive,” he later added.
“We’ve seen the control you have. Why have you allowed this?” Moms for Liberty tweeted, before writing that parents are “taking the wheel.”
McKinsey & Company research examined the effects of the pandemic on the 2020-21 school year and found that students were on average five months behind on math and four months behind in reading. For schools with largely minority populations, students fell six months behind in math and five to six months behind in reading.
The closures have also exacerbated a mental health crisis among young people often forced to isolate from their peers, experts have agreed.
AFT and the National Education Association were blasted last year after it was discovered the powerful teachers unions had corresponded with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ahead of school reopening guidance, which appeared to result in a slow walking of a return to in-person instruction. The CDC seemed to use the unions’ suggestions word-for-word in more than one instance in the final text of the CDC document.
The AFT defended the correspondence, saying it was routine and that it also worked closely with the Trump administration.
“The AFT represents 1.7 million educators, healthcare professionals and public employees who spent the last 14 months serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. So naturally, we have been in regular touch with the agencies setting policy that affect their work and lives, including the CDC,” AFT spokeswoman Oriana Korin said.
Weingarten pushed back on criticism for school closures in a Wall Street Journal retort last month, writing that “no teacher” wanted remote learning and blaming the hybrid learning model on the Trump administration.
But, her critics said that her write-up didn’t even address the central claim.
“It’s particularly notable that Randi Weingarten didn’t even address the central claim: that she fought to keep schools closed, which hurt kids in so many ways,” DeAngelis told Fox News Digital.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona responded to criticism over COVID relief money for schools, telling Fox News he’s confident funding from the American Rescue Plan is being spent appropriately in response to House Republican inquiries on why much of the money remains unspent.
“I do believe the money is being used adequately, and I would welcome questions from my colleagues on the Hill to show them in their districts — even though they didn’t vote for it in their districts — how the money is being used,” Cardona said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington.