The president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, attacked Jews who criticized her union’s efforts to keep schools closed for in-class instruction as members of the “ownership class.”
“American Jews are now part of the ownership class,” Weingarten said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a month ago reported by the Jerusalem Post. The 63-year-old union president who represents 1.7 million members was responding to those who criticize efforts to keep schools closed while they exploit the coronavirus crisis for billions in stimulus money that won’t be spent for years.
“I think some people are very skeptical of the power that they perceive teachers unions to have,” began the interviewer. “They look at, for example, the ongoing struggles in Los Angeles, where they see this bi dollar figure of aid being given for school reopening and are baffled by the perceived resistance of teachers to going back to work.”
Weingarten took issue with the complaint. At the time, the Los Angeles teachers union, which operates in the second-largest district in the country, was pulling every excuse to remain remote, and even went as far to slam the state’s plans to reopen as “propagating structural racism.”
“What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it,” Weingarten said.
Jews were immigrants from somewhere else. And they needed the right to have public education. And they needed power to have enough income and wealth for their families that they could put their kids through college and their kids could do better than they have done. Both economic opportunity though the labor movement and an educational opportunity through public education were key for Jews to go from the working class to the ownership class.
American Federation of Teachers Prez: "American Jews are now part of the ownership class. What I hear when I hear that question is that those who are in the ownership class now want to take that ladder of opportunity away from those who do not have it."https://t.co/Gdrdv0HeVY pic.twitter.com/dCxJbBD5bH
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) April 7, 2021
A month later, and L.A. schools are still not fully open in-person. The district, according to a local NBC affiliate, will begin classroom re-openings next week after 12 months of closure. Only elementary schools and institutions geared towards special needs will re-open. The remainder of the district’s buildings are supposed to re-open later this month. But now, that timeline may change as the teacher union demands childcare to return to class.
Despite Congress sending $129 billion to K-12 schools in coronavirus spending to get schools open, a tracker by the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute shows less than half, only 42 percent of districts, have returned to full in-class instruction nationwide.
In Los Angeles, an area food bank has felt the school closures exacerbate their local need.
William Hernandez, who runs the Valley Food Bank handling upwards of $1.5 million in groceries per month to families in need, told The Federalist they’ve seen an increased demand particularly among families with children as they learn-from-home.
“Hungry kids can’t concentrate in school,” Hernandez said, where eating habits for children learning from home require several trips to the refrigerator throughout the day.
The food bank has gone from feeding on average 3,900 families per month to 10,000.
Earlier this week, Weingarten caught flak for publishing a tweet of herself prepared to board a private airplane, notorious for inefficient emissions.
— Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten) April 5, 2021
She had previously demanded “all major polluters to step up” to curtail emissions.
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) April 5, 2021