Emails showing a powerful teachers union steered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into changing school re-opening guidelines in February and in some cases slowing down the return to classrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic have parents aghast and critics crowing.
"This really confirms what we knew all along, that the whole school reopening debate has been more to do with political partisanship and power dynamics than safety and the needs of families," Reason Foundation's Corey DeAngelis told Fox News' "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" on Monday.
DeAngelis was an author of a study of 10,000 public school districts across the country that had showed what the emails uncovered by the New York Post separately confirmed.
"Places with stronger teachers unions were statistically, substantially less likely to reopen their doors for in-person instruction, even after controlling for demographics in the area, politics in the area, COVID risk in the area," DeAngelis said. "We found there was no statistically significant relationship between the reopening decisions and the risk of the virus in the area."
The emails by the Post show unions lobbying CDC officials on the school reopening guidelines and, in at least two instances, the suggestions appeared nearly word-for-word in the CDC guidelines released in February.
Among the items picked up verbatim were, according to the report: "In the event of high community-transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary."
"The CDC bent over backwards to incorporate the demands of the special interests, namely teachers unions," Building Education for Students Together's Laura Zorc told Fox News. "Is this science? If this is the case, why did the CDC not also take input from parents in helping guide their recommendations?
"At the expense of our children's future, teachers unions and the CDC are playing politics with our children. Parents are seeing through the hypocrisy. We are standing up demanding that they stop using our kids as hostages while they negotiate their endless demands."
Republican adviser Rory Cooper tweeted: "How does the CDC remain a trusted health source when their recommendations are clearly based in politics and not science. They harmed children simply to make AFT and NEA donors happy."
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who leads the second-largest union in the U.S., rejected the Post's conclusions, saying the emails were merely part of "everyday advocacy."
Weingarten tweeted: "Once again the @NYPost has a hit piece out on AFT - this time that is trying to make everyday advocacy look nefarious."
Teachers unions nearly universally donate to Democrats in political campaigns, according to various reports.
"For those wondering why Senate Democrats would prioritize teachers unions over the well-being of students, the answer is simple: Follow the money," the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a statement last Wednesday. "The nation's two largest teachers unions were funneling mountains of cash to Democrat campaign organizations and candidates all while these same organizations fought to keep schools closed."
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