The head of the Los Angeles teacher’s union said there was “no learning loss” from keeping kids on lockdown during a recent interview, in defiance of concerned parents.
Cecily Myart-Cruz had a rare sit-down interview with Los Angeles Magazine that seemed gauged to inspire controversy. Myart-Cruz insisted that the students had not lost anything important, and had instead gained new, better skills, such as politically-charged vocabulary:
“Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.”
Myart-Cruz has been one of the leading advocates against California Governor Gavin Newsom’s efforts to get in-person schooling back into effect in March, scoffing at $2 billion in incentives for teachers to return to their classrooms as “a recipe for propagating structural racism.” At the time, Myart-Cruz was insistent on staying with remote learning, repeatedly citing race:
“If you condition funding on the reopening of schools, that money will only go to white and wealthier and healthier school communities that do not have the transmission rates that low-income Black and brown communities do.”
The union leader went on to openly state that this is a political struggle:
“Are there broader issues at play? Yes, there are. Education is political. People don’t want to say that, but it is.” Under Myart-Cruz’s watch, the powerful United Teachers Los Angeles union has seen its purvey expand wildly beyond its initial portfolio of ensuring teachers are paid, have safe work environments, and other traditional union responsibilities. Now, it finds itself at the forefront of a vast array of progressive, hard-left dreams, such as Medicare for all, financial support for illegal immigrants, rental and eviction relief, a special millionaires tax. In June, the union even find time to prioritize a boycott of Israel.
Plenty of parents have been upset by her agenda, protesting outside UTLA’s headquarters with signs with such slogans as “Cecily Myart-Cruz Doesn’t Care About Our Kids.” Myart-Cruz was dismissive of such criticism, openly mocking attempts to oust her:
“I love that my picture is the biggest one,” she said, referring to a protest poster of her compared to other officials such as Governor Newsom. “But here’s the trouble: You can recall the Governor. You can recall the school board. But how are you going to recall me?”
To Myart-Cruz, such criticism can all be chalked up to racial prejudice, and last winter endorsed an article by a Chicago superintendent stating that efforts to return kids to in-classroom learning were just part of “white-supremacist thinking.” She also stated in the article’s caption, which she shared on her official Facebook page, that union personnel were being “stalked by wealthy, white, Middle Eastern parents.”
Some parents who dared speak up have allegedly been targeted for a study on the racial background, as part of an effort to prove that all criticism of her position on in-classroom learning is due to race:
“I felt very targeted, I felt almost violated, like they were bullying me. It was clear to me that Cecily Myart-Cruz made this whole thing into some sort of racial war,” said Maryam Qudrat (who is of Afghani descent) in March.
The criticism hasn’t let up though, despite such tactics. Laura Zorc, executive director of Building Education for Students Together, issued the following statement on Myart-Cruz’s comments that “there is no learning loss.”
“The teachers union will deny learning loss and deflect because they do not want to be blamed for the mess they’ve created. Forcing students to stay out of school has shown the union’s true motivation and parents are now awake to it. Cecily Myart-Cruz’s comments demonstrate how out of touch the teachers union’s priorities are with working-class Americans. This is nothing more than a cheap trick to disguise the lasting damage teachers unions have done to families across the country.”
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