American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten faced heavy scrutiny after publicizing her support for an article published Monday, which called on its readers to declare “amnesty” for spreading misinformation during the COVID pandemic.
Brown University economist Emily Oster penned the article for The Atlantic, dubbed “Let’s Declare A Pandemic Amnesty,” on Monday, urging everyone to “forgive one another” for their words and actions over the virus.
Weingarten, who used her influence to ensure schools kept their doors closed to children during the pandemic and forced mask mandates on children that led to disastrous consequences for students, retweeted the author sharing her latest article, saying, “I agree with @ProfEmilyOster on this.”
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) October 31, 2022
However, asking for a pardon has fallen on deaf ears for those who suffered the consequences of Weingarten’s previous words and actions — among many others who enacted destructive policies during the pandemic.
Aside from governments forcing businesses to shut down, teacher unions locking up their classrooms, and friends and families becoming divided over wearing masks or how easily the virus would spread — an entire generation of students has been left with academic deficiencies.
The Nation’s Report Card published the 2022 Mathematics and Reading Report Cards for Grades 4 and 8 last week, which showed average scores in both subjects and grades for most states — and students’ confidence in their mathematics and reading skills — declined.
According to the report, the average mathematics score for fourth graders fell five points since 2019, while the score for eighth graders dropped eight points.
In reading, average scores for both grades fell three points.
“The results show the profound toll on student learning during the pandemic, as the size and scope of the declines are the largest ever in mathematics,” Peggy G. Carr, commissioner of the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, said in a statement.
Fox News reports that the Department of Education published a report in September that showed school closures and online learning contributed to a dramatic decline in test scores.
“Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020,” the report said. “This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990, and the first ever score decline in mathematics.”
The union president tweeted on Friday that her camp is “now focused on the urgent need to help kids recover and thrive.”
“The bottom line is everyone suffered in the pandemic […] because of the pandemic,” Weingarten said. “The disruption was everywhere, and it was bad regardless of whether schools were remote or in person.”
Republican Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears slammed the union boss Tuesday on “Fox & Friends,” saying she was one of the major proponents of closing schools that most Democrat governors followed her advice.
“Now they’re saying, oh, you know, just forget about it,” Sears said. “No, the problems are existing where our children did not learn.”
Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said, “Randi, of all people, doesn’t get anything resembling ‘amnesty.’”
“Just like the children she wanted to keep out of school don’t get amnesty from their learning loss,” Redfern said.
Randi, of all people, doesn’t get anything resembling “amnesty.”
Just like the children she wanted to keep out of school don’t get amnesty from their learning loss. https://t.co/jq1HJ42e2Z
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) October 31, 2022
Matt Whitlock, a Republican strategist, called Weingarten the “grim reaper of COVID school lockdowns,” adding she “won’t admit she did anything wrong.”
I’m dying over this.
The grim reaper of COVID school lockdowns won’t admit she did anything wrong.
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) October 31, 2022