Foxx: K-12 Education Should be about Children, Not the Political Agenda of Teachers Unions
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 11, 2022
Today, Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-NC) spoke on the House Floor condemning school shutdowns and the actions of teachers unions.
Republican Leader Foxx's Remarks:
“Against science and commonsense, many traditional government schools continue to shut children out of the classroom.
“The Biden administration has repeatedly put the political agenda of teachers unions above the needs of children.
“Throughout this pandemic, the Biden administration has ignored the concerns of parents and has instead crafted its COVID-19 school guidelines in accord with the demands of union bosses.
“The Biden administration’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consulted American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten for help in shaping guidance on school reopening. Entrusting a union boss and major campaign donor to make public health decisions is completely unacceptable.
“Teachers unions took full advantage of the pandemic. They bullied and coerced the Biden administration until they got almost everything they asked for.
“Any time the Biden administration resisted their demands, these unions had a meltdown, publicly shaming the administration, staging sickouts, and making their demands even more elaborate and unreasonable.
“According to CDC guidance, schools can safely stay open. The data proves that schools are not and have never been a major vector of spread.
“Yet even with all this scientific data, teachers unions are holding their ground at the cost of students’ well-being.
“This pandemic has taken a major toll on young people. Children, who are at the lowest risk of being made seriously ill by COVID-19, have been forced out of the classrooms by the demands of teachers unions.
“Forcing students to learn behind a screen has led to devastating consequences.
“According to a report by Curriculum Associates, the number of students testing at two or more grade levels below their own grade has significantly increased since the pandemic. The numbers are worse for students who were already at risk. For example, 49 percent of third graders who come from low-income areas are now two or more grade levels behind in reading and math. This is an increase of 10 to 12 percent since before the pandemic began.
“Because of school closures many students have also been suffering from isolation, depression, and anxiety. It was alarming to read that the number of E.R. visits for suspected suicide attempts by teenage girls rose from early 2019 to early 2021 by 51 percent. This is a public health crisis in and of itself—yet one that is being ignored by many of the decision makers at both the national and the local level in favor of special interest groups like the AFT.
“That is why Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee have been fighting so hard to keep schools open. We know the stakes are high.
“This pandemic has made it abundantly clear that teachers unions, as well as the education establishment, have too much power. Neither union bosses nor bureaucrats in Washington should be able to keep our children from the classroom. Access to education is an important right in this country, one that teachers unions are belittling with their outrageous demands.
“What has the out-sized influence of teachers unions produced? Less school choice, falling education standards, explicit material in school libraries, Critical Race Theory-inspired curriculum, and years of learning loss.
“Teachers unions have become far less about protecting teachers or students and far more about promoting a left-wing political agenda. This was made clear when the teachers unions in several major cities joined forces with the Democratic Socialists of America to demand an eviction moratorium and an end to voucher programs as conditions for reopening schools.
“The longer we let these union bosses take advantage of this pandemic, the worse off our students will be. Students should no longer take a backseat to politics or special interests.
“It is time to stop catering to teachers unions and to start serving the needs of students.”
Watch the full video here.