Appearing on Fox News Monday afternoon, left-wing American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten faced the kind of tough questions that her buddies in the liberal media would never dare ask. Anchor Martha MacCallum grilled the major Democratic Party backer on a range of topics from powerful teacher’s unions tampering with CDC pandemic guidance to radical critical race theory being taught in schools.
“So one third of American public school kids are still not fully back at school. The teacher’s unions have been accused at times of dragging their feet and more recently of having too much influence over the White House and the CDC,” MacCallum told viewers just moments before bringing Weingarten on her 3:00 p.m. ET hour show. She cited a bombshell New York Post report “that the American Federation of Teachers union, known as AFT, was able to coax their language directly into CDC policy.”
Turning to Weingarten, MacCallum pressed: “You can see why that would lead people to think that you all have a lot of muscle over at the White House when it comes to reopening our schools.” The hackish union chief desperately tried to deflect blame by attacking Donald Trump: “I begged the Trump administration to do exactly what the Biden administration did, which is real safety guidance, that Trump – that the former president didn’t mock every other day.”
As Weingarten continued to go after Trump rather than accept any responsibility for manipulating pandemic science, MacCallum hammered her for the AFT’s cozy relationship with the Democratic Party:
In part two of the exclusive interview, after a commercial break, MacCallum pointed out: “Two states, Idaho and Oklahoma, have banned critical race theory in some form in public schools. And now at least nine other states are considering taking similar measures.” She asked Weingarten to defend the left-wing attempt to corrupt educational curriculum with false and politically-charged revisionist history: “You have said that – we quoted you on the way to the break, you know, that this is a factual finding, the 1619 report that was put together in The New York Times, that now has been converted to learning materials that are in classrooms and are parts of curriculums. Do you believe that 1619 is a factual program?”
Clearly growing uncomfortable with the topic, Weingarten resorted to juvenile Fox-bashing: “I would hope that Fox would be just as focused on lets get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election. This election was – ”
A leftist partisan like Weingarten is so used to having friendly chats with compliant reporters who support her agenda that she doesn’t know how to deal with real questions about teacher’s unions damaging the American educational system.
3:26 PM ET
MARTHA MACCALLUM: So one third of American public school kids are still not fully back at school. The teacher’s unions have been accused at times of dragging their feet and more recently of having too much influence over the White House and the CDC on this political hot potato. So when The New York Post reported that the American Federation of Teachers union, known as AFT, was able to coax their language directly into CDC policy, that got a lot of attention. Take a look. An AFT official wrote this about guidance that the CDC was proposing. Quote, “We would like to share some thoughts regarding the paragraph below…‘At any level of community transmission, all schools can provide in-person instruction (either full or hybrid), through strict adherence to mitigation strategies.” In other words, everybody can go back in one way or another as long as you stick to the mitigation practices.
But the AFT wanted this exception added into that policy, quote, “In the event of high community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-COV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” And as you can see on the other side of your screen, they got that almost word for word.
So joining us now exclusively, AFT President Randi Weingarten. Randi, good to have you back, thank you very much for being here.
RANDI WEINGARTEN: Always.
MACCALLUM: You can see why that would lead people to think that you all have a lot of muscle over at the White House when it comes to reopening our schools.
WEINGARTEN: So the bottom line is this, Martha. That’s the kind of issue, the variants that were going on at that moment, that kept the Great Britain schools closed. And so we were concerned about it. But let’s actually look at the bottom line here. Right now, 97% of schools are open. And the bottom line, and you and I have had this conversation a lot of times, and you know that we put this plan together April 21 –
MACCALLUM: I went back through your plan again today. But that’s a very high number, it’s 67% that are back in full time. Right?
WEINGARTEN: 67% back in full time. There’s 30-some-odd percent back in, in a hybrid basis. We believe that the conditions have changed now so that everybody can be back in full time, but the bottom line is this: I begged the Trump administration – I can show you, I have many, many, many letters right now. I went to my office to find them. I begged the Trump administration to do exactly what the Biden administration did, which is real safety guidance, that Trump – that the former president didn’t mock every other day. I though [former CDC Director Robert] Redfield was really trying to do a good job. And resources. And what Biden did, was they did the safety guidance, some of which –
MACCALLUM: But the point is – but here’s the point. A lot of these schools went back already. So you’re saying, yes, the Trump administration was very aggressive. They wanted to get kids back in the classroom. And one of the reasons they wanted that was because the study was already showing last fall that transmission among children was very low. You had countries in Europe, you had people all over the place, in China, sending their kids back to school when our children were not going back to school. And that’s why there was so much frustration. Unless you’re in a Catholic school or private school, those kids have been back 100% since September, Randi.
WEINGARTEN: Actually, a lot of the charter schools, Martha, have not been back. But the bottom line is this.
MACCALLUM: Most of them are.
WEINGARTEN: We – if we had actually listened to Dr. Redfield and the CDC last May and that the president – the former president hadn’t kept on changing his mind and changing these things, we would have gotten more schools back in session.
MACCALLUM: Really? Because what you told me is there wasn’t money, that some of these schools had problems like mold. I mean, all of these things started getting into the mix that were not part of the equation at all when parents were just wanting to get their kids to go back. So obviously you didn’t have the pull with the prior administration. But in this administration, there have been $20 million that has gone from – to Democrats from teachers unions and teacher organizations. So I guess that money seems to be working.
3:38 PM ET
MACCALLUM: Two states, Idaho and Oklahoma, have banned critical race theory in some form in public schools. And now at least nine other states are considering taking similar measures. The bill in Oklahoma reads in part: “No teacher shall require or make part of a course that one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex.” The governor of that state joins us exclusively in moments, Governor Stitt. First back to AFT President Randi Weingarten once again. Randi, thank you very much for sticking around with us. I wanted to ask you about this because it’s become such a hot topic. You have said that – we quoted you on the way to the break, you know, that this is a factual finding, the 1619 report that was put together in The New York Times, that now has been converted to learning materials that are in classrooms and are parts of curriculums. Do you believe that 1619 is a factual program?
WEINGARTEN: So Martha, I believe that – I’m a history teacher and I’m a social studies teacher and I believe we should teach history. And from everything I can see and understand from the data I see, 1619 was the year that the first slave boat came from Africa to the United States.
WEINGARTEN: So that’s a point in history that I think we should be teaching.
MACCALLUM: But that’s – I mean, that’s a very simplistic, you know, take on it. I mean, the 1619 Project teaches that that’s the true beginning and the founding of our nation, not 1776. And that the reason for the revolution and the colonization was because people wanted to preserve, colonists wanted to preserve slavery. That the country was founded on the basis of wanting to preserve slavery. But that is not factual, that is not true. In fact, scholars in this area say there’s no evidence that colonists were motivated by that in coming to the United States. So it would be wrong as a historian to want to teach them something that is not true. Because that’s the basis that sets up all these other tenants that lead to teaching kids that we live in a systemically racist country.
WEINGARTEN: So I would actually say that I’ve had several conversations with Nikole Hannah-Jones and I have not arrived at the same conclusion from her work as you have. But let’s put it this way –
MACCALLUM: Well, that’s not my conclusion, that’s directly from their work, but go ahead.
WEINGARTEN: I would hope that Fox would be just as focused on lets get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election. This election was –
MACCALLUM: Oh, come on, Randi, come on. This is not the topic that we’re here to talk about. I’m not going to talk about that. We’ve talked about that before. But – no, that’s a dodge, okay? Because children in this country, we rank 36th in math, okay? That’s about midway of all the developed nations in this country. So I am asking you – you say you’re a social studies teacher. Do you favor teaching students that 1619 is more important than 1776? Do you favor that?
WEINGARTEN: I favor us teaching about 1776, which I have often done. I favor us teaching about 1619. I also favor us teaching about the Holocaust and the genocide in terms of the Holocaust.
WEINGARTEN: I think we have to teach –
MACCALLUM: I learned about all of those things in school that you just mentioned. But the problem is, do you think that it’s wrong to suggest to children that if they’re white they belong to an oppressor class, if they’re black they belong to a victim class? Do you have any problem with that?
WEINGARTEN: I think it’s – I think we should be lifting up all ethnicities. I don’t think we should say that one is an oppressor class and one is a non-oppressor class. I am a big believer in celebrating diversity and actually looking at and helping looking at people’s lived experience. But if you’re really talking about misinformation now, Martha, and I hope you are, I really would hope that Fox would really look at what happened in this election and how we can – because every social studies teacher is wrestling with this – discern fact from fiction. We have to do that as social studies teachers.
MACCALLUM: Yeah, well, we have a president. President Biden was elected in 2020. I think that all of that is quite clear. So I’m not sure why you, you know, are so concerned with that part, with that particular moment in history. Every election is significant. Nobody is hiding anything under any rocks here.
But I do want – you know, the fact that you have two teachers – you have two people who just made it on to the school board in Texas, right? They won by 40 points because they said, “You know what? This stuff, parents, you better become aware of it. Because if you think that it’s just oh, the first ship came with slaves on it in 1619, you better dig in a little bit deeper. Because there’s more to it than that.”
And then you watch Tim Scott, right? Who stood up in front of the country and said America is not a racist nation. There are racism incidents, there is racism. We all recognize that. But if you raise children in this country believing that it’s a bad country that was founded in wanting to preserve slavery, which is simply not true, then we’ve got a problem in our school system and apparently people noticed it in that district in Texas and they voted in people that they think are gonna make sure that that is clear to all the parents.
WEINGARTEN: Martha, I know you love having me on to tell me all these things.
MACCALLUM: I like discussing it with you. I mean, I respect you and I like to discussing this with you because it’s important.