This week, the Biden administration announced the appointment of Randi Weingarten, the controversial leader of the American Federation of Teachers union (AFT), to the Department of Homeland Security’s newly formed Academic Partnership Council. The news is a striking twist given Weingarten’s contentious role as a lockdown proponent during the pandemic and her lack of security-related experience.
Weingarten gained national attention during the pandemic as the chief advocate for keeping schools shuttered. Her stance remained intransigent even as schools in many parts of the U.S. and Europe began reopening. As the public face of an aggressive push by teachers’ unions, Weingarten insisted on an exhaustive list of demands before the return to in-person learning.
The AFT’s detailed plan ranged from health measures like screening and sanitization to far-reaching calls such as canceling student debt and boosting food stamp benefits, essentially eyeing a $750 billion investment from Congress.
Randi Weingarten has gone from dictating the CDC’s school reopening guidance to now advising the Department of Homeland Security on how to keep students safe.
Randi should have NO role in the government.
The Biden Admin puts teachers unions over parents every single time. https://t.co/fFWjJxnB6R
— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) June 22, 2023
Amid this national crisis, Weingarten and her union successfully exerted a direct influence on the Centers for Disease Control’s language used in school reopening guidelines. While vocally championing school lockdowns, she brazenly claimed to have spent “every waking day” during the pandemic trying to open schools. This misdirection has been met with widespread public derision, with notable figures like Elon Musk highlighting the falsity of her brazen claims.
— Ron Coleman (@RonColeman) June 22, 2023
This appointment to the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council, a body designed to provide “strategic and actionable recommendations” on campus safety, security, and research priorities, is a perplexing move. The decision rewards Weingarten for her unyielding support of a policy that has caused significant distress to America’s youth. Reading and math scores have notably dropped – the sharpest decline in 50 years – repeatedly highlighting the devastating impact of school closures on our children.
The Council’s mandate is crucial: to counter evolving and emerging threats to the homeland and help the country prepare for future threats. Including a figure like Weingarten, whose past actions have arguably harmed the population she is now tasked to safeguard, is baffling.
Notably, the Biden administration has not yet addressed the lack of security expertise in Weingarten’s background nor her divisive role in the prolonged school closures. By rewarding the zealous champion of a policy that has significantly harmed a generation of young people with a role in Homeland Security, the Biden administration continues to raise serious questions about its priorities and its loyalty to teachers’ unions that have actively worked against the best interests of America’s children.