Reacting to Randi Weingarten’s endorsement of an Atlantic piece calling for “pandemic amnesty,” Moms for Liberty co-founders Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice told Breitbart News the teachers’ union boss wants amnesty because she was a key player in shutting down schools.
“No amnesty for the people that committed crimes against children,” Justice said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow on SiriusXM Patriot’s Breitbart News Daily.
“Of course Randi Weingarten [president of American Federation of Teachers] wants to forgive and forget everything that happened during COVID, because she was a key player,” Descovich said. “She kept schools closed. What unions did to children for over a year, in some places, and continuing in some places, between forced masking, quarantining for weeks and months on end, to these children — it is not easily going to be forgotten.”
“It destroyed children’s lives.” she continued. “The trajectory for children that lost two years of education, when you look at the NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress] scores, you know, chances are a lot of these kids are not going to be able to graduate and their future is dismal because of women like her. So of course she wants to put it behind us and forget everything that has happened, but parents are not going to be able to do that very easily.”
Descovich was referring to what is often called the Nation’s Report Card, which, as Breitbart News reported, recently showed that pandemic-driven school closures caused plummeting reading scores and the largest decline in math scores in history.
“The truth of the matter is — you know, Tina said they won’t be able to graduate,” Justice added. “The truth is they probably will, because the metrics are being changed, and they’re making it easier and easier to graduate.”
“We have, you know, declining student engagement, declining attendance, declining achievement scores, and yet graduation rates have never been higher,” she continued. “And so that just shows you this is a system that’s very intent on protecting itself. The union is very invested in protecting the system, and they want you to focus on what I like to call the alphabet soup: The CRT / SEL / DEI, ‘If only children felt safe and valued, if only this, if only that, then they could learn.'”
Critical race theory, social-emotional learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives [the CRT, SEL, and DEI Justice referred to] have been a huge portion of the push from the left to indoctrinate children — an ideology the nation’s two largest teachers’ unions have put millions of dollars toward.
As Breitbart News reported, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) collected over half a billion dollars in dues, from which nearly 100 percent of political spending went toward far-left causes.
Despite those numbers, 57 percent of teachers consider themselves either Republicans or independents.
“What this report is showing is that the national teachers’ unions, the AFT and the NEA, are well-funded powerhouses. They are promoting radical progressive ideology in this country — they are so far away from their core issue of public education,” Descovich said.
“If you follow Randi Weingarten on Twitter, if you’re following any of the messaging from the AFT and the NEA, what they want you to think is, ‘Oh, we care so much about the children. We’re so worried about the learning loss and the children,'” she continued. “But when you look at what their agendas were for their conventions, their two national conventions they had this summer, they were completely political.”
As Descovich pointed out, some agenda items were voting on stances for abortion, Israel, and international trade, which have “nothing to do with education.”
Justice wondered why, given the data, a teacher would continue to pay “thousands of dollars” from their paychecks to a union that “isn’t doing anything to help them or to help education in America.”
She went further, arguing that, “What teachers have to understand is that they are going to have to take a stand. But unfortunately, what’s happening right now is a lot of teachers who are wonderful teachers are leaving the profession, because they’re tired of the woke ideology.”
The issue is one embedded in the structure the teachers’ unions have built to keep advancing their political interests.
“We have entry-ism happening, where we have all these new people coming into school, to work in some of these schools, who are younger and more progressive,” Justice said. “We need to reclaim public education in America, because as you talk about homeschooling, you know, parents can take their kids out.”
“If everyone who has the ability to do that does that, we’re still going to have a majority of children in public schools in America,” she pointed out. “What’s happening right now in the schools isn’t working, and the teachers’ unions have been really in control of that, and really in control of school boards as well for a very long time. So I mean, I don’t think you’re going to see a change in political activity. I think you’re going to see the unions double down.”
Both Descovich and Justice are former school board members, and while Descovich points out that structural change can be made at the state level, such as in Florida, where it is not mandatory to be part of a union, the issue remains that teachers’ unions appear to be as powerful as ever.
“Because they’ve made public education a jobs program,” Justice said. “It’s focused on the adults and what they want and need and not the children.”
“During COVID, we saw that very directly. American parents watched as Randi Weingarten and the teachers unions sought to keep schools closed in Florida,” she continued. “And when you saw the NAEP scores that came out, you saw that Florida students did better because they were in person in school.”
“I’d be lying if I said … that it’s easy for a teacher to leave the union,” she said, and told a story about a concerned teacher speaking at a school board meeting, only to go back to her seat past some union members who made a “slitting motion across their throats.”
“The truth is that public education is not supported by the teachers’ unions, and they really continue to make excuses for educational failure,” Justice said. “And I think conservatives in general kind of ceded the ground on public education and focused a lot on school choice, which we support and believe that’s very important — informed parents should be making decisions about where their kids go to school.”
“Public schools are going to continue to exist, and we need to pay a lot more attention in America to who’s running those schools, what decisions are being made about what’s being taught there,” she concluded.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.