By Casey Harper (The Center Square)
A newly released report from Republican lawmakers on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis alleges that teachers unions had “unprecedented access” in determining school COVID-19 guidelines after giving millions of dollars to Democratic candidates in 2020.
The report confirmed what The Center Square reported last year, including that teachers unions such as the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) gave tens of millions of dollars to Democrats before heavily influencing school re-opening guidance.
“Teachers’ unions, including AFT, donated more than $43 million to liberal groups and candidates during the 2020 election cycle,” the report said. “The two largest unions – which both endorsed then-candidate Biden for President – have approximately 4.7 million members. [CDC scientist] Dr. [Henry] Walke’s testimony to the Select Subcommittee shows the Biden Administration rewarded their support with unprecedented access to the policymaking process for guidance on re-opening schools.”
The report said that “the Biden Administration rewarded [teachers unions] support with unprecedented access to the policymaking process for guidance on re-opening schools.”
“The Operational Strategy that was developed jointly by the CDC and AFT reflects the fact that the Biden Administration prioritized its political allies over the health and welfare of school-aged children,” the report said. “Director [Rochelle] Walensky downplayed the degree to which the CDC gave AFT access to the policymaking process. In fact, the CDC shared a draft with the AFT at least two weeks before finalizing the document and solicited the union’s feedback.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten has defended her union’s work with the CDC, saying she has an obligation to advocate for her teachers. Teachers unions largely pushed for delaying school re-openings, calling for stringent vaccination and masking requirements.
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Those school closures led to some students falling behind academically and struggling with mental health.
“Research also shows that school closures affected students in other ways,” the report said. “According to McKinsey, parents whose children have fallen significantly behind academically are one-third more likely to say they are ‘very or extremely concerned’ about their children’s mental health. Black and Hispanic parents are seven to nine percentage points more likely than white parents to report higher levels of concern.”
The report comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came under major fire for removing 24% of pediatric COVID-19 deaths it initially had recorded, saying it made an error. Those inflated death totals were used to justify school masking and shutdown policies around the country.
According to the report, minority children were hit hardest by the lockdowns.
“The effects of the Biden Administration’s politicization of the CDC have been felt most acutely by students from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, including those attending majority-Black or low-income schools, according to a July 2021 report by McKinsey and Co,” the report said. “At the end of the 2020-21 school year, most students were about four to five months behind in math and reading levels.”
The Republicans behind the report called for an investigation.
“Because lawyers for the Biden Administration prevented a key witness from explaining why the CDC allowed AFT to write key portions of its guidance for re-opening schools, there are still several unanswered questions,” the report said. “This matter should be investigated further. America’s children are suffering, academically and mentally, because of the choices of liberal local and state officials. Republicans will not rest until we have rectified the harms perpetrated against children in America.”
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.