Teachers union leaders lash out, blame Fox News after damning report they strong-armed CDC on masks

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The largest teachers’ union in the country seemingly bullied the Biden administration into updating the CDC’s masking guidance in May to include a stipulation that masks should still be worn by everybody in school.

This bombshell finding was discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Americans for Public Trust watchdog group. The FOIA request turned up White House emails that were then published by Fox News on Wednesday.

The emails show that right after the CDC made a broad declaration on May 13th stating that fully vaccinated Americans need no longer mask up indoors or outdoors, the National Education Association began hounding the White House.

The agency specifically hounded Erika Dinkel-Smith, the White House director of labor engagement. The proof is in an email Dinkel-Smith sent on May 14th to CDC chief of staff Sherri Berger.

She wrote that the NEA had written up a “draft” statement about the CDC’s May 13th declaration but was holding off on publishing it until NEA chief Becky Pringle could speak with CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky.

“Would you know when Dr. Wolensky would be able to call NEA-Pres. Becky Pringle? They’ve gotten significant incoming and are getting targeted for a response from the media. I’ve gotten them to hold on their statement calling for clarification,” she wrote to Berger.

Dinkel-Smith also emailed Berger a copy of the unusually harsh and stern “draft” statement.

“We appreciate the developing nature of the science and its implications for guidance, but releasing the guidance without accompanying school-related updates creates confusion and fuels the internal politicization of this basic health and safety issue,” the statement read, according to Fox News.

“CDC has consistently said, and studies support, that mitigation measures, including to protect the most vulnerable, remain necessary in schools and institutions of higher education – particularly because no elementary or middle school students, and few high school students, have been vaccinated,” it added.

The statement concluded by demanding “CDC clarification right away.”

Berger reportedly responded by writing “will do” and “connecting w/Becky now.” Less than 30 minutes later, according to Fox News, Berger emailed Dinkel-Smith to inform her that she’d personally spoken with Pringle AND also notorious American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten.

(Source: Fox News)

Less than 24 hours later, the CDC suddenly updated its May 13th declaration by adding a stipulation that “[u]niversal and correct use of masks should be required,” even if students and staff members are vaccinated.

The NEA meanwhile published a statement that, unlike the “draft” statement, was brimming with love and praise for the CDC.

“CDC’s current recommendation that schools continue to implement existing school-related guidance, including the mandatory and correct use of wearing masks and continuing of social distancing, is an important and welcome clarification about the protections that need to be in place in our schools,” the statement, made in Pringle’s name, reads.

It’s not clear what happened to the original “draft” statement.

The trail of evidence gives the appearance of the NEA — and the AFT, it would appear — having bullied the Democrat-run White House into forcing the CDC to appease the demands of teachers’ unions.

The publication of this trail of evidence by Fox News hasn’t pleased Weingarten. In tweets posted Wednesday afternoon, she accused Fox News’ report of being an “intellectually dishonest hit piece” and claimed she and her peers were just following “the science.”


But they haven’t been following the science. As noted by a slew of critics, the majority of European countries don’t force masks on children for a valid reason.

“These countries, along with the World Health Organization, whose child-masking guidance differs substantially from the CDC’s recommendations, have explicitly recognized that the decision to mask students carries with it potential academic and social harms for children and may lack a clear benefit,” New York magazine notes.

And so no, Weingarten and her allies haven’t been following “the science.” In fact, it seems neither has the CDC.

As for Weingarten’s claim that Fox News’ reporting was inaccurate, she provided no proof to substantiate this highly dubious allegation.


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Vivek Saxena


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