This was all supposed to be based on “science.” Or so claimed groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for over a year now. It was the rationale for the draconian lockdowns. It was the reasoning behind the overreaching mask mandates. And whenever the topic of schools reopening arose, we were told that students couldn’t return to in-person learning yet because “science.”
Then, on February 12, President Biden issued a statement declaring that opening most K-8 schools by the end of his first 100 days was a national imperative. That sounds good enough, but this announcement came with a catch. President Biden said that this could “only be achieved if Congress provides states and communities with the resources they need to get it done safely through the American Rescue Plan.”
But the president didn’t stop at shamelessly pushing his disastrous $1.9 trillion “COVID relief bill” that’s jam-packed with far-left policies unrelated to the pandemic. He went on to praise the CDC as providing “the best available scientific evidence on how to reopen schools safely.”
Certainly, you would hope that the national public health agency of the United States would follow science when forming such a plan. But instead, the CDC allowed itself to be manipulated by one of the most powerful teachers’ unions in the country: the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
So much for following the science…
Emails acquired after a Freedom of Information Act request by Americans for Public Trust show that:
- The CDC implemented at least two suggested changes from the AFT nearly word for word in its final Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools.
- AFT Senior Director for Health Issues Kelly Trautner shared her gratitude at the union acting as the CDC’s “true thought partner.”
- The Biden administration’s knowledge of all of this in the days before the president’s announcement in February.
Clearly the AFT is using its political clout to write CDC guidelines on schools reopening. But it gets worse.
AFT President Randi Weingarten and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky made concerted efforts to hide their cooperation from the public. And in 2020, the AFT began lobbying for specific bills that would dramatically increase the budget, reach, and power of the CDC.
Yesterday, top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Dr. Walensky demanding answers. But she has yet to respond. Meanwhile, AFT President Weingarten posted a desperate and ridiculous series of tweets attempting to rationalize the union’s behavior as “routine.”
But since when is it routine for the CDC to copy and paste nearly verbatim guidance from a teachers’ union? If this is a common practice, then everyone at the CDC should be fired immediately.
The fact is that many students haven’t been missing out on just in-person learning. They’ve been missing out on learning altogether—with one report estimating up to 3 million students across the country who haven’t experienced any formal education since March 2020.
You would think that an “American Federation of Teachers” would care about these students and their parents. But the AFT doesn’t. It only cares about protecting its own interests. And the only science the CDC is interested in…is political.
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