Teachers unions are run by Democrats
The chairman of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randi Weingarten, gave an hour-long speech on Thursday morning, centered around the demand for a full reopening of all American schools in the fall. In addition, it stirred up illusions in the state economic stimulus programs of the Biden government.
The speech made clear the corporatist character of the trade union bureaucracy, which Biden and the Democrats are increasingly tying into the state apparatus in order to suppress the class struggle. Weingarten, who sits on the National Democratic Committee (DNC) and earns about $ 500,000 in executive salaries, embodies the stratum of upper petty bourgeois union bureaucrats who are utterly hostile to the interests of the workers they allegedly represent.
Weingarten gave her speech on the same day that the disease protection agency CDC set new guidelines, according to which vaccinated persons no longer have to wear masks in closed rooms. At the same time, states across the country are removing all restrictions to contain Covid-19 in schools and businesses. A practicing doctor told the WSWS: “The lifting of the mask requirement will encourage the complete renunciation of all measures to protect people. Half of the population and almost all children are still not vaccinated. There are hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of new infections every day. That is a dangerous development. "
The mainstream media and the political establishment have used the lifting of the mask requirement as an opportunity to demand the full resumption of classroom teaching and to spread the lie that America is largely out of the pandemic. In fact, almost 40,000 people in the United States are still infected with the coronavirus and around 650 die every day. In addition, more infectious variants that may be resistant to the vaccine are spreading uncontrollably around the world.
Weingarten's manuscript of speech has undoubtedly been approved by White House officials with whom she has worked closely since Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20. Education Minister Miguel Cardona stated in an interview with MSNBC: "I expect that all schools will be fully open to all students."
Weingarten made a similar statement. She started her speech with an ultimatum: “There is no doubt that schools need to be opened. With face-to-face teaching and five days a week. ”She affirmed this several times:“ We can and we must resume face-to-face teaching, learning and support in autumn and keep the schools open. Complete and secure, five days a week. ”She later added,“ Given the current circumstances, nothing should stand in the way of our public schools fully and permanently opening this fall. ”
Right at the beginning of her speech, Weingarten made it clear what the central intention of this campaign is: Parents should be forced to return to work in order to generate the greatest possible profits for the financial oligarchy: “Parents rely on schools not just for their children train, but also that they can go to work - such as B. the three million mothers who left the workforce during the pandemic. "
Weingartens spread the old wives' tale that school openings were chaotic under the Trump administration, but would take place harmoniously under Biden. At the same time, she admitted that the unions under both governments favored the process: “The Trump administration politicized security and weakened science. So from late April of last year to January 19, 2021, we were busy trying to open schools in a climate of chaos, fear and misinformation while one wave of the pandemic chased the next. Fortunately, the Biden government has changed course and is fighting the pandemic with science, truth, transparency and, yes, money too. "
This narrative excludes the catastrophic consequences of the school openings for teachers, parents, students and society as a whole, as well as the massive resistance to the promotion of school openings under Biden.
Several studies have shown that opening schools directly leads to an increase in infections and deaths in the respective communities. According to a recent study, the opening of schools in Texas last August resulted in at least 43,000 additional infections and 800 deaths across the state in the first eight weeks. Education Week wrote: "By May 10, 2021 at least 937 active and former teachers and school staff had died of Covid-19."
Under Trump, the AFT and the National Education Association (NEA) refused to organize any kind of fight against school openings. In late July, the AFT passed a resolution expressly approving only "local or state security strikes, on a case-by-case basis, and only as a last resort". When spontaneous strikes broke out in the autumn, both unions kept them isolated and gave them no support. Faced with this isolation, more than 100,000 teachers and parents across the country formed Facebook groups to organize protests that the AFT and NEA did not even mention.
Faced with tremendous opposition from teachers, most of the major Democratic-run school districts were forced to stick to distance learning entirely this fall. After Biden's inauguration, the unions and the Democrats worked together to reverse this. The fiercest battle took place in Chicago, the third largest school district in the United States with around 340,000 students. Shortly after the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) betrayal, Weingarten told the New York Times, She calls the White House, CDC and local union officials for up to 15 hours a day to coordinate the full opening of the schools.
Under both Trump and Biden, the federal government has criminally refused to trace infections and deaths from Covid-19 in connection with schools. However, health officials recently quietly released estimates that 26.7 million children and adolescents under the age of 18 were infected with the virus, i.e. H. more than a third of the total US population in this age group. The latest studies show that around 10 to 15 percent of all infected minors develop “long covid”, so that up to four million children and adolescents could be affected by it in the USA alone. Without a doubt, most of these infections happened in schools.
Contrary to what Weingarten suggests, the Biden government has continued to skew science in the interests of the business elite. Biden himself openly lied about the endangerment of children and told a second grader on CNN: “Children don't get Covid very often. That is rare."
In the remainder of her speech, Weingarten tried to stir up illusions that the Biden administration will significantly improve public education: "We can initiate a renaissance in American public schools that will change the lives of young people and the course of our country."
She read a long list of other support measures for students, teachers and school staff that are allegedly part of the $ 125 billion educational package to be distributed through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This list is in many ways complementary to Biden's State of the Union Address of March 28, which the World Socialist Web Site as "the golden mean policy - everything for everyone".
In reality, the ARPA's resources are spread over two and a half years; H. averaged just $ 50 billion a year, or 1,000 per student. According to conservative estimates by the Learning Policy Institute in July 2020, states will need between $ 200 billion and $ 300 billion to stabilize their budgets for teaching through twelfth grade and to pay even some of the additional costs over the next year and a half .
Weingarten also sprinkled racial and identity politics into her speech. This is part of the increasingly aggressive attempts by teachers unions, democrats and the media to cover up the root causes of the crisis in the capitalist system. Weingarten declared: "Above all, racial injustice was a 'pandemic within the pandemic'." She called for the increased recruitment of "colored teachers". The AFT and the NEA propagate the “1619 Project” of the New York Timesto be used as a history curriculum for schools across the country. The WSWS exposed this project as a pure falsification of history.
Weingarten's attempts to stir up illusions in the Biden government and claim that the pandemic is almost over will not meet with much response from teachers, parents and students. You have had the worst year in recent history and in the process you have been completely abandoned by the unions.
Very many teachers and other workers recognize the subservience of the unions and the Democrats to the demands of the capitalist class for schools to be opened up and have become increasingly radical over the past year. The most far-sighted and militant have formed networks of action committees in cities and states across the country and around the world, independent of trade unions and both parties of big business. These include teachers and numerous other sections of the working class, including workers from car companies, Amazon and transport companies.
Michael Hull, a teacher and member of the Texas Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, commented on Weingarten's speech: “Instead of fighting for better distance education and payments to working-class families, she continues to represent the back-to-work and back-to-work Wall Street School Narratives. With such scammers at the helm, there is no way forward for workers. We have to fight independently of organizations like the AFT, which have in fact been integrated into the established wing of the Democrats, in order to act as a controlled opposition. "
To contain the pandemic, all schools and non-systemic workplaces must be closed and all workers and their families must receive adequate financial support. Funds for general testing, contact tracing, and the isolation of all infected patients need to be increased. The production and distribution of vaccines must be expanded significantly and the profit motive eliminated in order to be able to safely vaccinate the entire world population.
It is critical to the implementation of this program that workers in all industries form action committees to coordinate their struggle across state and state lines. The International Workers' Alliance of Action Committees (IWA-RFC) was created for this very purpose, and all teachers and workers who want to fight to save lives should join today and set up a committee at their school or workplace.
Governments across Europe are not doing enough to contain the pandemic. Therefore, students and young workers must take responsibility for their own health and the lives of their loved ones.
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