Former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certainly knows a thing or two about America’s most dangerous enemies. Without downplaying the very serious threats to our national security posed by China, Russia, and Iran, Mr. Pompeo focused on the enemy that is eroding our values and destroying our future from within. “I fear America is on a path to disintegration due to persistent failures in our education system,” he wrote in in op ed article for the New York Post.
Mr. Pompeo pointed to “American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten and her fellow travelers” as personifying the “radical and progressive forces” who are crippling this nation’s schools. In fact, he went so far as to call Ms. Weingarten “the most dangerous person in America,” after having previously referred to her as the most dangerous person in the world.
“Education is the key that unlocks the golden door to freedom,” said George Washington Carver. “The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth,” said President John F. Kennedy.
Ms. Weingarten has been the most outspoken teachers’ union leader promoting the destructive educational policies that have been foisted on our public schools. These policies have literally closed the school door shut and replaced the dissemination of truth with indoctrination.
“Failing to teach math, science, real history and civics and, importantly, to imprint America as the most exceptional nation in civilizational history on the hearts and minds of the next generation,” Mr. Pompeo wrote, “dooms America and the world that counts on us.”
Ms. Weingarten wrote a rebuttal to Mike Pompeo’s article, which the New York Post published online December 2nd. The union boss declared that “teachers will not be a prop for his pathetic ambitions.” She accused Mr. Pompeo of “shilling for special interests.”
Ms. Weingarten is the shiller-in-chief for one of the most politically influential special interests in the country. She and her fellow teachers’ union bosses pretend they care about the nation’s public-school students. But their actions prove the opposite. With the help of Democratic Party government officials, whom the teachers’ unions have in their pockets, the unions have blocked vital in-person learning for kids during COVID, even long after there was no-science based reason for doing so.
Weingarten’s union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), for example, successfully persuaded the Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to incorporate language the AFT wanted in the final version of the CDC’s February 2021 school-reopening guidance. The language that made its way into the final text set forth exceptions requested by the AFT to a full return to in-person learning in the classroom.
AFT senior director for health issues, Kelly Trautner, wrote an e-mail to the CDC before the guidance’s release thanking the CDC for its “openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT.” In an e-mail that Ms. Trautner sent directly to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, she praised the CDC Director for “your genuine desire to earn our confidence and your committment (sic) to partnership.”
Since when is a government public health agency that is supposed to offer its health guidelines based solely on scientific findings trying to earn the “confidence” of a non-scientific special interest lobbying group? And since when did the AFT and the CDC enter into a “partnership?” Since President Biden came into office? Most likely.
As Dr. Monica Gandhi, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the New York Post, “This is not how science-based guidelines should work or be put together.” Dr. Ghandhi is an infection disease specialist and an expert contributor to the work of the COVID Collaborative.
School children have suffered immensely as a result of the teachers’ unions’ reckless disregard for students’ educational needs. Remote learning is a very poor substitute for in-person learning. As a result of the long delay in teachers and students returning to the classroom, reading scores for 9-year-olds dropped the most since 1990. The math score decline was even worse.
But Ms. Weingarten’s cavalier response was not to worry. After all, she said,, “kids are resilient.”
We should be plenty worried. Our students are falling behind in learning the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Kids are not resilient enough to make up totally for the two years of lost learning in the classroom.
But kids are impressionable, which is just fine for Ms. Weingarten’s teachers’ union. Forget the elementary school reading books that past generations of elementary school students have used successfully. AFT recommends that elementary school teachers expose their students to LGBTQ books such as King & King, a children’s picture book with an image of two men romantically kissing. Another AFT recommendation is My Princess Boy, a children’s picture book about a boy who likes to wear girls’ dresses and tiaras. Its illustrations include faceless human characters, which are certain to confuse children susceptible to suggestion from their teachers who they see as authority figures.
True to form, Ms. Weingarten blasted Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law. This law protects young children in kindergarten through third grade from being indoctrinated about gender identity and sexual orientation issues in the classroom. Weingarten said that the law would effectively put LGBTQ children “back into the closet.” No, the law would simply empower parents to decide for themselves whether or not they think the books on AFT’s recommended LGBTQ reading list, for example, are suitable for their own children of tender age.
Regarding the sensitive issue of race, Ms. Weingarten proudly hosted a prominent critical race theory advocate and author, Ibram X. Kendi, at the American Federation of Teachers’ TEACH 2021 conference. The AFT has put out its own special edition of Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a book that Kendi co-authored. This book is a version of critical race theory intended for middle and high school students.
AFT recommended that students read a book entitled All American Boys, which AFT said on one of its webpages “is an especially valuable text because it simultaneously tackles white privilege and racial oppression, rather than focusing only on one issue or the other.” AFT also recommended that teachers “help students discern the systemic nature of racial oppression” and that teachers have their students make lists of “the benefits and unearned advantages that white individuals experience in our society.”
AFT has promoted Black Lives Matter at School and endorsed the use of the historically discredited 1619 Project in the classroom. The authors of the 1619 Project sought to push back America’s founding to 1619 from 1776. The first Africans arrived in North America in 1619, leading to the institutionalization of slavery that the authors claim would come to define America as the systemically racist society that it supposedly still is today.
AFT’s president, Randi Weingarten, is leading the charge because she believes that “America’s professed values—life, liberty, equal justice under the law—have never squared with the lived experiences of many.” Weingarten has ignored the sweeping progress in the civil rights that African Americans have come to enjoy since the 1960’s. Instead, she promotes student lessons that are racially divisive.
Mike Pompeo correctly chastised AFT and its leader, Ms. Weingarten, for blessing the indoctrination that is brainwashing American public-school students. Not only does teaching such left-wing ideology corrode students’ beliefs in America’s founding ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and in its promise for a better future ahead for all. It wastes valuable teaching time. Along with the lengthy school closings pushed by AFT, the result is that America’s students are lagging behind in the skills and knowledge that will be key to winning the global competition in the twenty-first century.
As Mike Pompeo noted, “students in China now outscore our children across the board.” Chinese President Xi Jinping’s goal of overtaking the United States is made easier when we allow “Weingarten and her ilk” to continue endangering our public education system.