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122 views • October 13, 2022

Teachers Union Boss Goes to Ukraine to 'Assess the Situation' as US Children Struggle

NTD News
NTD News
After fighting to keep many American public schools closed for almost two years, the president of the nation's second-largest teachers union has traveled to Ukraine to "assess" the poor remote learning conditions for children there. Randi Weingarten, who leads the 1.7 million member-strong American Federation of Teachers (AFT), announced the trip on Monday in the wake of a new Russian missile blitz targeting major cities across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the attack as a retaliation for the sabotage of the bridge connecting Russia to Russian-controlled Crimea. "Woke up this am to reports of disgusting Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Lviv & other cities. Heading to the border now to assess the situation," Weingarten wrote on Twitter. "This Russian attempt to frighten civilians & the effect on children (who are learning online today) is why this [trip to Ukraine] is so important." According to the AFT, Weingarten was visiting Ukraine at the invitation of the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine, the Eastern European nation's largest trade union. She is scheduled to donate children's books and school supplies at school visits in Lviv on Oct. 11, and address educators in Warsaw, Poland, at the Polish Teachers Day event on Oct. 14. "We're not going to let Putin get away with terrorizing people—Putin terrorized people today with this wave of indiscriminate bombings throughout the cities of Ukraine as he has terrorized people since February," Weingarten said in a video posted on Twitter. "Our trip of solidarity and bearing witness is probably more important today than it was when we planned it." "The schools are closed, children are learning remotely in bunkers right now," she added, implying that a shift from in-person to remote instruction has a negative impact on children. Weingarten's latest advocacy drew widespread criticism on social media, with many pointing to the role her organization played in the widespread public school closures in the United States in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "In Ukraine, kids got stuck with extended remote learning because of an actual war. In America, kids got stuck with extended remote learning because of Randi Weingarten," wrote Republican strategist Matt Whitlock. "You fought to keep schools closed for over a year and now you're concerned about remote learning ... in Ukraine?" wrote Corey DeAngelis, the executive director at pro-school choice think tank Educational Freedom Institute. "Can you just assess the situation of failing to properly educate millions of children here?" American Children Suffer Learning Loss According to the latest federal assessment data, math and reading scores for America's 9-year-olds took a dramatic hit between 2020 and 2022, a period marked by prolonged school closures, on-and-off remote learning, and amplified social isolation. The report, known as the "Nation’s Report Card," shows that average long-term math scores fell for the first time since the test began in the 1970s. Reading scores also saw the biggest decline since the 1980s. Meanwhile, the AFT has left a record of attempts to make it harder for schools to reopen for in-person instruction. A publicized email exchange between the AFT and the CDC shows that the union successfully lobbied the health agency to modify its school reopening guidelines, allowing teachers and staff living with a “high-risk” person to work remotely, and demanding that schools in communities with high COVID-19 case levels stay closed pending updated guidelines. When the CDC revised its school-distancing guidelines from 6 feet to 3 feet, Weingarten opposed the change, declaring that the union was "not convinced that the evidence supports changing physical distancing requirements at this time." Despite those efforts, Weingarten recently blamed the school closures on the Trump administration. "While former President Donald Trump and his education secretary, Ms. [Betsy] DeVos, ranted and raved, their successors put the safety measures in plac
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