Concerned parents and grandparents called into C-SPAN to express their frustration with Tuesday’s guest, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, over delaying school reopenings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I mean no disrespect to you,” one caller from West Virginia began, “but, you know, this union thing one time in our country a union was a wonderful thing. Now, the union creates a lazy ineffective, people, and it also creates children that have no education. I look at my grandchildren and it is pathetic how the teachers union and the government has failed, our children. I don’t see how you can sit up there and defend that.”
Ticked off parent GOES OFF on teachers union boss live on C-SPAN:
"It is pathetic how the teachers union and the government has failed our children. I don't see how you can sit up there and defend that." pic.twitter.com/5128nnFijy
— Young Americans for Liberty (@YALiberty) May 18, 2021
Weingarten tried to defend her organization by claiming that unions help create “better kind of solutions” because they often lobby for higher wages, but her answer did not satisfy other callers.
Another caller expressed outrage that educators and unions used the pandemic as an excuse to “reimagine our education.”
“Basics would be nice. The public schools have failed these children before on education basics, let alone all this social re-education,” the caller said.
Despite previously advocating for schools to stay closed until they are safe, Weingarten also reiterated in her interview on C-SPAN’s “The Washington Journal” that she now believes schools should reopen, just in time for summer break.
At the top of her C-SPAN appearance, Weingarten claimed members of her union have been calling to reopen schools for “months and months and months now,” but blamed former President Trump and Republican lawmakers for keeping schools closed.
“[The Trump administration] decided to politicize it, as did the Republicans in Congress,” Weingarten said. “The Biden administration did what we had begged the Trump administration to do, which is collect data … and have broad-based, safety-based protocols … and then have the resources to do it.”
As Biden proposed spending $130 billion on schools in his coronavirus relief package in January, state departments of education still had over $53 billion in unspent federal funds from the emergency relief bills passed in March and December of 2020.