‘It was never about safety:’ Here’s how schools are reportedly using Covid relief funds

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Outrage has erupted over reports that, after a year of teachers’ unions begging for more funding ostensibly to make schools COVID-proof “for the kids,” the money is instead being used to shower teachers with perks such as “financial incentives.”

To be fair to the teachers’ unions, it appears state officials are making this decision.

“In plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education, states are detailing how they will use COVID-19 relief funding to recruit and retain teachers, including strengthening the teacher pipeline through ‘Grow Your Own’ programs, offering financial incentives, providing staff mental health supports and creating alternative licensure routes,” according to K-12 Dive.

“In several cases, states are using relief funding to employ evidence-based strategies to strengthen the educator workforce. Georgia, for example, is partnering with the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and Kennesaw State University on a mentoring and induction program for new special education teachers across the state, among other efforts,” the education-focused news site’s report continues.

This report would have likely gone unnoticed by the public had not Randi Weingarten, the president of the extremely powerful and influential American Federation of Teachers union, eagerly tweeted it Wednesday as if bragging (despite her already personally making boatloads of money.)

Look:

The tweet was quickly ratioed by a multitude of critics claiming that this proves that the stipulation from teachers’ unions that teachers wouldn’t return to work unless the money was provided to make schools COVID-proof “for kids” was nothing but a sham.

“I thought those funds were critical to upgrade ventilation systems in older buildings, not increase union membership and teacher pay. How do more teachers and, if we’re being honest, highly paid but superfluous administrators enable schools to open safely?” one critic asked in befuddlement.

They don’t, in fact, “enable schools to open safely,” and that of course is the point.

See more responses below:

Is this any surprise, though? Not really, because teachers’ unions have been making the coronavirus about everything but the coronavirus since day one.

In late summer 2020, one teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles, “published a paper calling for schools to remain closed until the district could ensure adequate supplies of protective gear for teachers and students,” as reported at the time by Reason magazine.

That would have been at least understandable had the teachers union stopped there.

“UTLA also stated that the pandemic requires an immediate moratorium on new charter schools in Los Angeles. How does that protect student or teacher safety? It doesn’t, of course. If anything, the pandemic has revealed the necessity of additional educational options for parents and students,” Reason reported.

“UTLA didn’t stop there. It is also demanding things that the officials in charge of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) don’t have the power to grant, such as the passage of Medicare for All, new state-level wealth taxes in California, and a federal bailout of the LAUSD — which is struggling to meet pension obligations for retired teachers and staff,” Reason added.

The union basically made it all about keeping their jobs (by stopping the creation of new charter schools) and keeping their pensions. Thus, they made it all about the dollar bill, y’all.

“I could say shame on you Randi and @BeckyPringle, but you have no shame,” one of the tweets pictured above reads in reference to Weingarten and Becky Pringle, the president of another powerful teachers’ union.

The evidence suggests the critic wasn’t wrong about them having no shame.

Vivek Saxena

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