A new report by Republican lawmakers lays out in detail what many conservatives have suspected for some time now: A far-left teachers union mostly wrote the mandates and guidelines Joe Biden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued that led to long-term closures of public schools.
“The findings are included in a House GOP interim report issued by the conference’s Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, which is investigating how the government responded to the pandemic,” the Washington Times reported.
According to the committee’s investigators, officials with the nation’s second-largest teachers union “wrote key portions” of the agency’s February 2021 report that established guidelines for how and when schools should reopen.
The Times adds:
Documents in the report show the White House and CDC staff communicating extensively with union officials about a draft of the school reopening guidance before it was issued on Feb. 12, 2021.
According to emails obtained by the GOP, Republicans allege, the Biden administration “indicated a willingness to accept near-verbatim edits to the Operational Strategy.”
Republicans said the teachers union convinced the CDC to rewrite the draft to include “closure triggers” to shutter schools in the event of increased COVID-19 transmission, which resulted in thousands of school closures later in 2021.
The report noted that other changes the union officials managed to secure was the inclusion of verbiage written by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten that created additional hurdles for schools to obtain enough staff so they could reopen.
“Ms. Weingarten wrote guidance accepted by the CDC that called for schools to allow teachers and other staff to remain working remotely or take other assignments if either they or someone in their household was at high risk or increased risk of severe illness from Covid-19,” the Times reported.
The policy, she said to White House staff, ought to be made after consulting with medical and human resources professionals, “keeping in mind Equal Employment Opportunity concerns.”
In addition, union officials also managed to add a segment calling on the CDC to update or change its school reopening guidance if “a new variant” of COVID-19 emerged.
The GOP panel said that the collaborative effort runs afoul of a long-held practice of keeping draft guidance confidential, while also pointing out that unions donated $43 million to Democrats during the 2020 election cycle.
“Biden’s CDC overrode routine practice to allow a radical teachers union that donated millions of dollars to Democrat campaigns to bypass scientific norms and rewrite official agency guidance,” noted House Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee.
Teachers around the country fought school reopenings tooth and nail, as did their unions, despite early data showing that remote learning models were harming students and setting them back years in terms of learning deficits.
The Federalist reported just this week:
Children have been the lowest-risk group affected by Covid-19, but have arguably suffered the most under Covid-19 policies imposed on them by hysteric adults. A recent joint report by the World Bank, UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), and UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), presents some shocking data on how much learning loss children worldwide have suffered in the last two years due to school closures. …
By June 2020, there was sufficient data to show that school closures caused more harm than good. So about 20 countries, including Denmark, Finland, and France, reopened their schools. But many countries, including the United States, kept schools closed, despite data recommending otherwise.
Even in a developed nation such as the United States, youth face devastating learning loss. Research by Amplify, a curriculum and assessment company, shows, “In kindergarten, the percentage of students at greatest risk for not learning to read rose from 29 percent in the middle of 2019–20 to 37 percent in the middle of 2021–22.”
School closures also widened the education achievement gaps among racial groups. The same research demonstrates that, on reading, about “48 percent of Black grade 1 students are far behind, and 43 percent of Hispanic grade 1 students, compared to 27 percent of white grade 1 students.”
The research also found that students in higher grades did not do much better.
In conclusion, the report argues that reopening schools should be every country’s “highest priority” because “the cost of keeping schools closed is steep and threatens to hamper a generation of children and youth while widening pre-pandemic disparities.”