The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) used a wrong flag in its latest attempt to show solidarity with Ukraine, prompting discussions about the failures of American public education under the influence of the teachers union.

“AFT President [Randi Weingarten] and [AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus] stand with #Ukraine,” the AFT wrote in a now-removed Twitter post, which included a photo of Weingarten and DeJesus holding a poster featuring a yellow-blue flag. The actual Ukrainian flag is a blue-yellow flag resembling the blue sky over a wheat field—imagery associated with the Eastern European country’s reputation as a wheat exporter.

The poster reads, “We stand with Ukraine, AFL-CIO,” in reference to The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest federation of unions in the United States.

AFT President Randi Weingarten and Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus pose with a poster that mistakenly placed Ukraine’s national colors in reverse. (Twitter)

This elementary mistake made by the top leaders of the nation’s second-largest teachers union quickly became the subject of much ridicule, with many people saying occasions like this help explain the growing interest in alternatives to public schools.

“That’s the flag of Ukraine alright, upside down,” California state Sen. Melissa Menendez wrote. “Shout out to the teachers union for this promotional piece on the importance of school choice though.”

“Thank you for explaining why our schools have failed,” wrote Jeff Carlson, a co-host of Truth Over News on EpochTV.

“They did to that flag what they did to education these past two years … pretend they care, but really, they just made it upside down,” wrote Reopen California Schools, a grassroots organization opposing the shutdown of in-person, public education across California during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major teachers unions have faced intense criticism over their pandemic response. Despite concerns over learning loss and mental health problems caused by lockdown policies and an extremely low risk of young children suffering severe illness from COVID-19, powerful unions such as AFT advocated the closure of schools and pushed back against their reopening.

It was revealed last year that under the influence of the AFT, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had set unreasonably strict standards on when and how schools should reopen. According to emails obtained and publicized by the New York Post, at least two of AFT’s suggestions were adopted almost word-for-word into the CDC’s final draft of the school reopening guidelines, including one allowing teachers to continue working remotely from home if they live with someone deemed to be at high-risk for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO also shared a photo of its leadership posing with the same posters. The organization later removed the post and uploaded a digitally altered image with the correct blue-yellow design.

Bill Pan


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