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Powerful Teachers Unions Dictating Terms of Reopening to CDC, School Districts

CDC allowed teachers union to write language for the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February

By Katy Grimes, May 3, 2021 7:52 am

California’s 6 million public school students have been “distance” learning from home since California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered statewide business and school closures in March 2020 – more than 425 days ago.

After several fits and starts, in December 2020 California Gov. Gavin Newsom told the state’s parents that he was aiming to have the youngest kids back in school by February, but not the state’s middle and high schoolers.

Immediately, the California Teachers Association jumped in and said campuses should not reopen until counties reach the state’s red tier of infections.

Parents laughed when Newsom claimed to be suffering along with everyone else: “As a parent of very young children, in-person instruction, there’s just no substitute for it,” said Newsom, a father of four young kids who had been back in their private school since November.

But talk of a full reopening of the state’s public schools was quashed when the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers quickly mobilized members and made clear that they opposed any state attempt to override local decision-making, Politico reported.

The CFT also added a new caveat: classroom, in-person instruction would hinge on the vaccine rollout and timeline.

What we didn’t know, was at the same time, the national teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, had been lobbying the Centers for Disease Control on, and even suggested language for the federal agency’s school-reopening guidance released in February, the New York Post reported. “The powerful teachers union’s full-court press preceded the federal agency putting the brakes on a full re-opening of in-person classrooms, emails between top CDC, AFT and White House officials show.”

The Post reported:

The documents show a flurry of activity between CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, her top advisors and union officials — with Biden brass being looped in at the White House — in the days before the highly-anticipated Feb. 12 announcement on school-reopening guidelines.

“Thank you again for Friday’s rich discussion about forthcoming CDC guidance and for your openness to the suggestions made by our president, Randi Weingarten, and the AFT,” wrote AFT senior director for health issues Kelly Trautner in a Feb 1 email — which described the union as the CDC’s “thought partner.”

“The lobbying paid off,” the Post said. “In at least two instances, language ‘suggestions’ offered by the union were adopted nearly verbatim into the final text of the CDC document.”

“The CDC was preparing to write that schools could provide in-person instruction regardless of community spread of the virus, when the CFT argued for the inclusion of a line reading “In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” That language appeared on page 22 of the final CDC guidance.”

The CDC even admitted during a press conference that it based its new school guidelines on science, but also input from teachers and stakeholders, Legal Insurrection reported.


Corrupt politics at the highest levels of local, state and federal government, rather than science, led to school children languishing and suffering for more than one year. But parents were told “it’s the science” keeping kids away from in-classroom learning. We still don’t know why older students were kept out of the classroom.

Studies since just last fall show Elementary and high schools are not COVID-19 super-spreaders, including a Brown University study found. Statistics involving 200,000 school kids from 47 states in fall 2020 yielded an overall coronavirus infection rate of just .13 percent among students and .24 percent for staffers, according to Brown University economics Professor Emily Oster and her team of number-crunchers, the Post reported.

The AFT and its state affiliates, as well as the CTA have long been deep pocketed donors of the Democratic party, dropping almost $20 million to elect party members during the 2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Teachers unions and “educators” donated almost six times more to Biden than Trump in the 2020 election, the Center for Responsive Politics reported. “All of Biden’s largest sources of money in the field come from individuals affiliated with universities. Top donors include employees of the University of California (about $1.4 million), Stanford University ($595,000) and Harvard University ($510,000).

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10 thoughts on “Powerful Teachers Unions Dictating Terms of Reopening to CDC, School Districts

  1. I think that your first line needs to be edited a little bit, Katy.. Let me help you..

    California’s 6 million public school students have been distance “learning” from home since California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered statewide business and school closures in March 2020 – more than 425 days ago.

    Note that the only change was a migration of the quotation marks. I’ve watched my kids sitting around the house while their school work stagnates. I guarantee that they are nowhere near where they should be in their educational journey. Honestly, if the teachers union gave a crap about anything other than money, they would be looking out for our kids.. instead, they only look out for their own pockets. Even many of the teachers that they are supposedly there for disagree with their politics and shenanigans.

    1. At least — for what it’s worth, and it’s not exactly wonderful news but it’s necessary —- the true motives and unacceptable state of affairs of the players in CA public education have finally been revealed, naked and shivering, for what they really are. And the termite-ridden building they own needs to be demolished, excavated, pest-controlled and re-built, but at least we all know that now.

  2. This story reflects the importance of F.O.I.A., The Freedom of Information Act. Any organization and individual is allowed to file one at the federal level. The state of California also has one at the state level, California Public Records Act (CPRA). I encourage parental advocacy groups to file one in their local districts. The light needs to be shined on the corruption.

    The shut down of schools was never about keeping the children safe. As the lock down continued the unions saw it as an opportunity to have their demands met. Much money has been poured into the school districts to reopen the schools. Few districts in California have reopened partially if at all. Parents, it is up to you to hold them accountable. What has your district done with the money?

    Teachers who want to teach, and I know you understand this is wrong, I hope you find the courage to stand up and speak out. Do it in numbers, stand together. Otherwise you have abdicated your sole responsibility, to educate the children. After all, as I can appreciate and have heard my entire life you did not go into teaching for the money!
    Finally, stop feeding the machine, stop sending your dues into these corrupt unions. After all these years how much have you benefited from their efforts, do they really have your back?

    1. Cali Girl: You’re right. And these are extremely valuable and helpfully SPECIFIC suggestions that parents and teachers would be smart to make use of. Would be wonderful to see this stuff spread like wildfire.

    2. Amen, Cali Girl!!!
      Spot on assessment of the situation…

      Where is Jessica Milan Patterson on this ???

      Oh yeah, she’s out fundraising on her own…

  3. Hapless Serfs
    Free school ain’t working out well….your kids about to lose another year UNLESS your “village” is highly vaccinated % wise……so sad……free is a bizzzzaro zero for you and your children.

  4. Break these unions…

    They are only fundraising arms for one political party and now represent “pay for play”, quid-pro-quo legislation in the United States, and ESPECIALLY in California….

    Break them up…

  5. Sorry to be blunt (crude?), but I will repeat a previous comment:

    School closures and “distance learning” have been an absolute wet dream for public teachers and their unions. Teachers don’t have to do any work or even commute to schools, yet they retain full wages and benefits. When their students fail college entrance exams because they didn’t learn anything, the teachers and unions will claim that’s Covid’s fault.

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