Randi Weingarten Gets Schooled by CNN Commentator and Parent Scott Jennings

Throughout 2020 and 2021, as COVID-19 ravaged the United States and the world, pictures began to surface on the internet of teachers enjoying beach vacations and extra paid time off, while the parents of their students attempted to carry on those students’ education themselves. Many of those parents place the blame for the extended amount of time schools were locked down squarely on the shoulders of American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten.

Weingarten testified on Wednesday before a COVID-response congressional oversight hearing on school closures. Weingarten and the AFT are strong allies of the Democrat Party, and the result of their powerful influence came in the form of many American schools being closed for more than a year, which caused irreparable damage to students, especially those with learning disabilities and mental health challenges.

But one of those parents who tried to continue their children’s education while teachers took selfies on the beach was CNN conservative commentator Scott Jennings. Jennings and Weingarten were part of a panel discussion on Thursday night, and Jennings got the chance to speak for a lot of American parents saying:

We don’t know each other, but speaking on behalf of millions of American parents — I have four at home, I had to teach them at home, my wife had to teach them at home — I am stunned at what you have said this week about your claiming to have wanted to reopen schools. I think you’ll find that most parents believe you were the tip of the spear of school closures. There are numerous statements you made over the summer of ’20 scaring people to death about the possibility of opening schools, and I hear no remorse whatsoever about the generational damage that’s been done to these kids. I have two kids with learning differences. Do you know how hard it is for them to learn at home and not in a classroom that was designed for them? And for you to sit in front of Congress and the American people and say, ‘What? I wanted to open them the whole time,’ I am shocked, I am stunned. And there are millions of parents who feel the exact same way.”

Weingarten testified that the AFT spent every day from February of 2020 on advocating for schools to be open, but wanted to do it with the safety of students and staff in mind. As Jennings alluded to, most Americans don’t think she and the union tried hard enough. In fact, Weingarten also testified that the AFT was in discussions with the Biden transition team, and was advising them on guidance to re-open schools. Weingarten was asked if the union was in touch with incoming officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) but would not answer the question directly. However, it was revealed that a conference call took place in January 2021. Weingarten was asked if she had CDC director Rochelle Walensky’s private number, and she said she did. Weingarten spoke privately to Walensky up until a February 12, 2021 issue of guidance by the CDC which slowed schools reopening.

But perhaps the best part of Weingarten’s testimony, and what should raise the ire of parents now dealing with the fallout from the AFT and CDC’s collusion, was when House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) asked Weingarten if they had offered up “line-by-line edits” to CDC guidance. Weingarten’s response, “No, we did not, sir. We did not suggest line-by-line edits. We suggested concepts, sir.” Those “concepts,” have put millions of American schoolchildren at least a year behind in their education if not more.

And just a few questions: Why was the Biden transition team appearing to consult a teachers union before health officials on reopening schools? And if Weingarten’s claim that teachers “wanted to be in school,” was true, why were AFT-affiliated teachers in Los Angeles demanding such things as defunding police, Medicare for all, and moratoriums on charter schools before they would return to work?  Weingarten responded to Jennings, saying:

I don’t know you, sir, and you don’t know me. But I have worked for the last 20 or 30 years helping kids every single day. I’ve been a schoolteacher, I’ve been a union leader. I knew and understood the importance of reopening the schools and the importance of making sure that people were safe. And poll after poll that we did of parents — and I spent a lot of time with parents — said that they basically understood and supported that we needed to do both. I’m really sorry about your kids.

Jennings also pointed out that European schools opened sooner than American schools, and asked, “How did Europe and the rest of the civilized world get this right and we failed?” Weingarten reiterated her previous statements saying, “Nobody wanted to keep kids at home.” Because nothing says “I want to go back to work,” like a selfie on the beach.

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