The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was preparing to release school reopening guidelines in February suggesting that in-person learning would be acceptable even if a community had high coronavirus case rates. After a meeting with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest teachers union, the CDC allegedly backpedaled and revised their guidelines about in-person instruction, using wording provided by the AFT.
Article by Kerry McDonald from FEE.
The New York Post broke the story on Saturday using emails received through a Freedom of Information Act request from Americans for Public Trust, a non-profit organization focused on government accountability.
According to the Post, the CDC guidelines for in-person learning were changed after a lengthy email exchange and a call with AFT representatives. Instead of allowing for in-person schooling regardless of community COVID-19 case levels, the modified guidelines indicated that high virus transmission rates could prompt an update of CDC guidelines.
The teachers union also lobbied the CDC to include wording that would allow “high-risk” teachers to work remotely, as well as teachers and staff who live in a household with a high-risk person. Some of the AFT’s suggested language was incorporated almost word-for-word into the February 12 CDC statement on school reopening plans.
“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,” said one email by AFT representative, Kelly Trautner, to the CDC.
The emails between AFT and CDC staff members, some of which were forwarded to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, indicate that the teachers union referred to the CDC as its “thought partner,” and a call was scheduled in early February between Walensky and Weingarten prior to finalizing the CDC statement.
Backroom dealings between a powerful government agency and a powerful public-sector labor union are concerning, particularly in this case when the federal government, working through the CDC, has so much power over education policy. As the economist F.A. Hayek said: “Once wide coercive powers are given to government agencies…such powers cannot be effectively controlled.”
— Neal McCluskey (@NealMcCluskey) May 2, 2021
Teachers Unions Delay School Reopening Plans
The CDC and Walensky, who warned of “impending doom” throughout the country on March 29 due to coronavirus case counts, may have instead facilitated “impending Zoom,” as teachers unions continued to block school reopening plans and many students learned remotely. Indeed, as of April 19, only 47 percent of US public school districts were open for full-time, in-person learning, with most of the remaining districts operating on a hybrid model with some in-person and some remote learning.
Research over the past year has found that teacher union influence, more than any other factor including community virus transmission rates, determined whether or not a school district reopened for in-person learning. In their March 2021 paper in Social Science Quarterly, Corey DeAngelis and Christos Makridis concluded: “Our findings that school closures are uncorrelated with the actual incidence of the virus, but are rather strongly associated with unionization, implies that the decision to close schools has been a political—not scientific—decision.”
Brown University researchers reached a similar conclusion last fall. “Contrary to the conventional understanding of school districts as localized and non-partisan actors, we find evidence that politics, far more than science, shaped school district decision-making,” they wrote.
More parents may be discovering just how political school reopening plans actually are, particularly as they learn how connected the major teacher unions are to the Democratic Party and its platform.
According to EducationNext, the nation’s two top teachers unions have been among the leading financial contributors to national elections since 1990: “They have forged an alliance with the Democratic Party, which receives the vast majority of their hard-money campaign contributions as well as in-kind contributions for get-out-the-vote operations.” Teachers union members comprise 10 percent of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention, where they represent “the single largest organizational bloc of Democratic Party activists.”
Local teachers unions have also pinned their school reopening negotiations on the approval of a variety of progressive policies, including most recently the Los Angeles teachers union gain of child care subsidies for teachers and staff.
Parents Seek More Choice
In California, where many schools have only just begun to reopen, many parents removed their children from an assigned district school for private education options. The Associated Press recently reported that public school enrollment in California dropped by 160,000 this academic year, which is “by far the biggest decline in years.” Other states have seen similar public school enrollment dips this year as parents choose private schools or homeschooling.
Not surprisingly, support for school choice policies continues to soar. According to findings from a RealClear Opinion Research survey released last month, 71 percent of US voters back school choice and 65 percent support parents using some per-pupil education funding for private options if public schools don’t reopen for full-time, in-person learning. School choice legislation continues to be introduced in the majority of states across the country, and some state bills have recently passed that dramatically expand parental choice in education.
With fall schooling plans still murky in many places, and teachers unions establishing more reopening contingencies for the 2021/2022 academic year, many parents are delaying kindergarten enrollment or seeking other education options for their children.
Faced with “impending Zoom” in district schools, parents are increasingly opting out.
‘The Purge’ by Big Tech targets conservatives, including us
Just when we thought the Covid-19 lockdowns were ending and our ability to stay afloat was improving, censorship reared its ugly head.
For the last few months, NOQ Report, Conservative Playbook, and the American Conservative Movement have appealed to our readers for assistance in staying afloat through Covid-19 lockdowns. The downturn in the economy has limited our ability to generate proper ad revenue just as our traffic was skyrocketing. We had our first sustained stretch of three months with over a million visitors in November, December, and January, but February saw a dip.
It wasn’t just the shortened month. We expected that. We also expected the continuation of dropping traffic from “woke” Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, but it has actually been much worse than anticipated. Our Twitter account was banned. Both of our YouTube accounts were banned. Facebook “fact-checks” everything we post. Spotify canceled us. Medium canceled us. Apple canceled us. Why? Because we believe in the truth prevailing, and that means we will continue to discuss “taboo” topics.
The 2020 presidential election was stolen. You can’t say that on Big Tech platforms without risking cancellation, but we’d rather get cancelled for telling the truth rather than staying around to repeat mainstream media’s lies. They have been covering it up since before the election and they’ve convinced the vast majority of conservative news outlets that they will be harmed if they continue to discuss voter fraud. We refuse to back down. The truth is the truth.
The lies associated with Covid-19 are only slightly more prevalent than the suppression of valid scientific information that runs counter to the prescribed narrative. We should be allowed to ask questions about the vaccines, for example, as there is ample evidence for concern. One does not have to be an “anti-vaxxer” in order to want answers about vaccines that are still considered experimental and that have a track record in a short period of time of having side-effects, including death. One of our stories about the Johnson & Johnson “vaccine” causing blood clots was “fact-checked” and removed one day before the government hit the brakes on it. These questions and news items are not allowed on Big Tech which is just another reason we are getting canceled.
There are more topics that they refuse to allow. In turn, we refuse to stop discussing them. This is why we desperately need your help. The best way NOQ, CP, and ACM readers can help is to donate. Our Giving Fuel page makes it easy to donate one-time or monthly. Alternatively, you can donate through PayPal as well. We are on track to be short by about $4100 per month in order to maintain operations.
The second way to help is to become a partner. We’ve strongly considered seeking angel investors in the past but because we were paying the bills, it didn’t seem necessary. Now, we’re struggling to pay the bills. We had 5,657,724 sessions on our website from November, 2020, through February, 2021. Our intention is to elevate that to higher levels this year by focusing on a strategy that relies on free speech rather than being beholden to progressive Big Tech companies.
During that four-month stretch, Twitter and Facebook accounted for about 20% of our traffic. We are actively working on operating as if that traffic is zero, replacing it with platforms that operate more freely such as Gab, Parler, and others. While we were never as dependent on Big Tech as most conservative sites, we’d like to be completely free from them. That doesn’t mean we will block them, but we refuse to be beholden to companies that absolutely despise us simply because of our political ideology.
We’re heading in the right direction and we believe we’re ready talk to patriotic investors who want to not only “get in on the action” but more importantly who want to help America hear the truth. Interested investors should contact me directly with the contact button above.
As the world spirals towards radical progressivism, the need for truthful journalism has never been greater. But in these times, we need as many conservative media voices as possible. Please help keep NOQ Report going.