Teachers’ Union Demands Reveal Progressive Agenda

 

 

Teachers’ unions oppose school choice and charter schools. That’s no secret. I wrote about it recently (School Choice – The Key to the American DreamBiden Chooses Teachers Over Students). Teachers’ unions oppose school choice because it threatens their livelihood.

Until now, that’s about all we knew about teachers’ unions. But now they have come out of the closet. Now they have openly declared they’re all about pushing a progressive political agenda. No more will we have to wonder what their real agenda is all about. In the classic liberal mantra of “not letting a crisis go to waste”, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) has taken advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to demand politicians give in to their agenda or they won’t allow the schools to reopen.

It was recently announced by two large California school districts, San Diego and Los Angeles, that schools would not reopen in the fall until conditions were considered safer for students amid the viral pandemic. The UTLA has listed their plan for providing a safe environment for students and teachers. Their demands include:

  • Keeping student in “pod groups” to limit contact with other students
  • Classrooms with no more than 12 students
  • Staggered arrival, recess, lunch, and departure times
  • PPE for all students and faculty
  • Reduced furniture in classrooms
  • Increased air circulation in classrooms and buildings
  • Outdoor instruction whenever possible
  • Increased emphasis on hygiene and hand washing
  • 100% testing of symptomatic individuals

 

Many of these demands are certainly reasonable and may contribute to a safer school environment. But the UTLA has also listed their progressive demands that have little or nothing to do with school safety, but everything to do with their political agenda. Among those items are the following:

 

  • Medicare for All– the socialist healthcare system pushed by progressives like Bernie Sanders and AOC
  • Defund Police – shift current spending to education, housing & public health and away from law enforcement
  • Federal Bailout– Although the CARES Act and HEROES Act provided additional federal funding of schools, the UTLA is demanding at least an additional $1 billion for funding California schools.
  • Wealth Tax – a new tax on unrealized capital gains for California billionaires, 1% annually until capital gains taxes are met
  • Millionaire Tax – a 1% surtax on incomes over a million a year, 3% over 3 million a year
  • Homeless Security– declare housing a “human right” assisted by the state. Also, pass ordinances to prevent evictions and provide rent relief
  • Paid Sick Leave – at least 10 days minimum required by every employer
  • Charter Moratorium – defunding of all charter schools – in other words, eliminate School Choice
  • Financial Support for Undocumented Students and Families – in other words, taxpayers support of illegal immigrants

 

This is an incomplete list of their demands, but sufficient for you to get the picture. They want every progressive wish they can dream of and are using this crisis period to leverage their agenda. They are pretending to be concerned about the safety and welfare of their teachers and students, but the list of demands goes far beyond that issue. If it was ever uncertain who they really represented, it is crystal clear now.

Joe Biden recently pledged his support of the National Educators Association (NEA), one of the largest teachers’ unions in the country. His wife, Jill, is an NEA member. He proudly announced, “When we win this election, we’re going to get the support you need and the respect you deserve. You don’t just have a partner in the White House, you’ll have an NEA member in the White House. And if I’m not listening, I’m going to be sleeping alone in the Lincoln Bedroom.” He said, “No privately funded charter school – or private charter school – would receive a penny of federal money.”

Biden opposes School Choice, that’s clear. But he pretends to oppose Medicare for All and Defunding Police. But he’s already retreating from his earlier stance opposing defunding police by agreeing some reallocation of funds to police departments is needed. What about a “human right” to a home, taxpayer support of illegal immigrants, and other progressive ideas? Who believes he’ll still oppose these progressive agenda items once he’s sitting in the White House?

Junk Science Prevails in Roundup Settlement

 

The Wall Street Journal editorial board calls it “a shakedown for the history books.” They are referring to the recent settlement by Bayer to pay up to $10.9 billion to settle with plaintiff attorneys who claim its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.

Bayer has agreed to pay as much as $9.6 billion to settle some 125,000 cases and unfiled claims. In exchange, 25 law firms say they don’t intend to take on more litigation. Bayer will set aside another $1.25 billion for a future class-action settlement brought by a different set of trial lawyers. Bayer and those attorneys agreed to establish a five-member panel of scientists to consider whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Why would Bayer agree to this settlement?

The science isn’t settled. There is no proof that glyphosate causes cancer. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), certainly no friend of corporations, said it wouldn’t approve product labels claiming the weedkiller causes cancer because that would “constitute a false and misleading statement.” Federal Judge William Shubb issued a permanent injunction preventing California from requiring a cancer warning on the herbicide. He noted that nearly every regulator that has looked at the evidence “has found that there was no or insufficient evidence that glyphosate causes cancer.”

The only exception to this pattern is the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. The WHO has been in the news a lot lately due to its failures to contain the corona virus pandemic and their cozy relationship with China. The Trump administration just announced their intent to withdraw from participation in WHO because of their incompetence and political bias. According to the WSJ, the WHO believes everything from sipping hot cocoa to talking on a cell phone might give you cancer. It determined glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic” only after writing off evidence to the contrary, Reuters reported. One of the advisers who helped conduct the group’s glyphosate analysis concurrently received pay from trial lawyers. Naturally, he has since testified in the Roundup litigation.

Bayer has lost some spectacular trials so far. In the first Roundup case heard, the San Francisco Superior Court limited Bayer from discussing the EPA’s conclusions, but allowed the plaintiff attorneys to wax on about findings from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. In the second case, the plaintiff’s attorney ignored the court’s limits on admissible evidence, a violation that was “intentional and committed in bad faith,” Judge Vince Chhabria determined later. In a third case, an Alameda County Superior Court judge prevented jurors from hearing about a comprehensive new EPA review in which federal regulators concluded Roundup doesn’t cause cancer and poses no danger to health when used as directed.

These three cases alone cost Bayer more than $2.4 billion in jury penalties. Judges have since reduced this to $190 million but Bayer is still appealing. But their future is not bright, given that they face some 52,000 plaintiffs as of April.

The Bayer settlement is based on gambling that the panel will reach the same conclusion as regulators in the U.S., the European Union, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere – that glyphosate isn’t a carcinogen. If they’re right, the legal system has done them a great harm. If they’re wrong, they should pull Roundup from the market before anyone else is harmed.

(Note: In an ironic twist to this story, Judge Chhabria is now expressing skepticism about the terms of the Bayer settlement. In a four-page order refusing to delay a July court hearing in the case, he questioned “whether it would be constitutional (or otherwise lawful)” to hand the issue to a panel of scientists instead of judges and juries. In other words, he prefers to let ordinary people (juries) settle this scientific issue rather than a panel of scientists. He went on to say, “In an area where the science may be evolving, how could it be appropriate to lock in a decision from a panel of scientists for all future cases?” Here he makes a good point, for our scientific knowledge is always evolving. However, if future science proves that claims glyphosate causes cancer are proven false, will the courts demand a refund of Bayer’s money?)

Biden Chooses Teachers’ Unions Over Students

 

There is a war being fought for the minds of our most vulnerable children.

On one side are those who want to give parents the choice of which schools their children attend. These people advocate school choice and charter schools, which enable minority children to escape poor public schools. This provides these children with a quality education that gives them the tools to escape poverty. (see School Choice – The Key to the American Dream.)

On the other side are those who want to protect the jobs of teachers’ unions and poor teachers. These people are more concerned with the political support of teachers’ unions and less concerned with the education and future of minority children. They are counting on the loyalty of minority parents who traditionally have voted Democratic despite years of that party’s ignoring the needs of their children.

Joe Biden just made his choice – he chose to support the teachers’ unions. He chose to put teachers and unions ahead of students and their future.

Biden recently pledged his support of the National Educators Association (NEA), one of the largest teachers’ unions in the country. His wife, Jill, is an NEA member. He proudly announced, “When we win this election, we’re going to get the support you need and the respect you deserve. You don’t just have a partner in the White House, you’ll have an NEA member in the White House. And if I’m not listening, I’m going to be sleeping alone in the Lincoln Bedroom.”

Biden made his priorities clear to the NEA in March, when it endorsed him in the Democratic primary. He said, “No privately funded charter school – or private charter school – would receive a penny of federal money.”

The Wall Street Journal editorial board says this is a departure even from the days of President Obama. From 2000 to 2017, the share of public-school students who attended a charter school rose from 1% to 6%. Those statistics represent thousands of stories of children, many of them black and Hispanic, who escaped failing schools to get a better education.

Biden seems eager to repudiate this record and put space between his intentions and the record of the Obama administration. He told the NEA his plan involves, “higher salaries for educators,” “universal pre-K”, and “tripling the funding for Title 1 schools.” He also pledged to “double the number of school psychologists and counselors and nurses and social workers in school,” and to “help educators wipe out the burden of their own student debt.”

The WSJ says, “Teachers first. Put it on a bumper sticker, Mr. Biden, and hope people don’t notice the corollary is that students, and especially poor and minority students, come second.”

 This practice of supporting teachers’ unions at the expense of minority children has been successful for many years for Democratic candidates. But the 2018 Florida gubernatorial election proved minority parents are paying attention. Post-election analysis showed that the difference in this closely contested election was the votes of black women. They chose Ron DeSantis, a white Congressman, over Andrew Gillum, a black mayor of Jacksonville.

According to CNN exit polling of 3,108 voters, of the roughly 650,000 black women who voted in Florida, 18% or about 117,000 chose DeSantis. This exceeded their support for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott (9%). In other words, they selected the Republican gubernatorial candidate but not the Republican senatorial candidate. William Mattox, director of the Marshall Center for Educational Options at the James Madison Institute, writes in The Wall Street Journal that the reason is school choice.

 Joe Biden is surely aware of these statistics but betting on the loyalty of black and minority voters. It’s time these parents made the right choice – and voted for their children’s future. It’s time they supported the only presidential candidate who will support School Choice – President Trump.