What do you call someone who controls the futures of 49.9 million American public-school children? (For context, Canada has a total population of 38 million.)
Governor? Prime minister? The Most Dangerous Person in the World? That’s what former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just called Randi Weingarten.
Randi is the president of the second-largest teachers union in the United States. Until schools closed in 2020, I, like most Americans, had no idea who she was or the significance of the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association in our lives. The teachers-union leaders enjoyed relative anonymity as they pulled the strings of America’s educational and political establishments — just offstage.
The pandemic lockdowns pulled back the curtain and exposed us to the harsh truth. Suddenly, as parents found themselves fighting on the frontlines to reopen our nation’s schools, we were faced with an unfamiliar — and to many of my fellow liberal Democrats unexpected — adversary.
While we may have previously believed we share the same values — commitment to diversity, freedom of choice and all basic civil liberties — it turned out the fake values the unions espoused were not what we thought. Furthermore, they held all the cards while parents were left holding their inconsolable children.
As stakeholders in our children’s public education, many of us thought we had a seat at the table. We believed all the engagement rhetoric coming from our mayors, schools chancellors and even our president that parents mattered, that our public schools were lifting our concerns up and centering our children’s needs.
During the lockdowns and school shutdowns, we quickly realized our delusion. We did not have a say. We watched in despair when on her first full day in the White House, First Lady Jill Biden met with AFT chief Weingarten and NEA head Becky Pringle. She famously told them, “You will always have a seat at the table.” You know who didn’t? Parents and kids.
So you’ll understand why Mike Pompeo’s comment that Randi is the most dangerous person in the world resonated with me. Randi and her fellow union leaders are the ones who kept our schools closed, our children masked and our communities divided during the darkest times of our lives. They had countless opportunities to lead, to help to unite. But they chose to destroy instead.
The result? Math tests scores decreased by the largest amount ever. Decades were taken off reading scores. The union, meanwhile, wants fewer tests, less accountability, and an overall lowering of academic standards.
Randi says Pompeo is attacking her because she’s “Jewish and gay.” This is just another attempt at gaslighting by using identity politics to obscure the truth. Randi and the teachers unions have extorted billions of dollars from this country, and instead of using it to keep schools open and help the most disadvantaged kids, they funneled it into key Democratic races including Gov. Kathy Hochul’s, which raised a record $60 million.
Today, while Randi races around the world trying to “save” democracies, she leaves in her wake the smoldering flames of an irreversibly wrecked public-education system she was entrusted with. The greatest democracy in the world is at risk because of her malfeasance.
I would say that’s pretty dangerous.
Natalya Murakhver is co-founder of Restore Childhood, a nonprofit dedicated to ending COVID mandates for children and restoring athletics, art and academics across the United States. She is producing a documentary on the lockdowns called “15 Days…” Twitter: @AppletoZucchini