Never forget teachers unions fought to keep schools closed and now fight for critical race theory

Teachers unions long have traded on the assumption, held by parents who don’t pay that much attention, that the unions exist to promote the public interest – specifically, on a foundational premise that they “fight” for “better education” for the school-age children in their charge.

But the pandemic, and the teachers unions’ reactions to it, has revealed with shocking clarity that the teachers’ unions have been doing nothing of the sort. They haven’t been fighting for the students; heck, they haven’t even been fighting for all teachers. In reality, they have been, and are still, fighting to advance the interests of one relatively small clique of teachers who share doctrinaire beliefs about the proper response to the pandemic and, just as importantly, radical beliefs about America. 

For the better part of the last year and a half, the teachers unions have been leading the fight to keep public schools closed, out of what they have tried to convince us was a fear of COVID-19 transmission. This, even though, when it comes to COVID-19, school children are not only the least vulnerable age cohort in society but also the least likely to transmit the coronavirus to others.  

At first, parents across the country, most of whom had probably never before thought they had reason not to trust their children’s teachers, relied on those teachers’ words and supported their demands. 

That meant radically reduced in-person classroom time and the introduction of a new phenomenon – “Zoom time,” as public schools all over the country switched to “virtual” instruction. Children no longer left home for the duration of the school day; instead, they sat at kitchen tables, living room tables, and bedrooms and used the family laptop or tablet to connect to their class. 

Meanwhile, millions of parents could no longer leave their homes to go to work either; instead, they worked “remotely,” from home, as they waited for offices to reopen. 

The result? Suddenly, for the first time, parents and their school-age children were spending entire days in close quarters. Parents could actually see and hear what their children’s teachers were “teaching.”  

For far too many, what they saw horrified them. What they saw were “lessons” about racism they’d never heard before. What they saw was their children being indoctrinated in critical race theory, which teaches, simply, that all humans can be divided into two groups, based on skin color – and that those who are white are, by definition, “oppressors,” while those who are not white are, by definition, “oppressed.” 

Teachers unions’ leaders deny that critical race theory is being taught to public school children. Yet just last week, the National Education Association endorsed the teaching of critical race theory and pledged to oppose legislation that would prohibit public schools from teaching it. Why would they oppose legislation to prohibit something that wasn’t even happening if it wasn’t even happening? 

Trust me; critical race theory is being taught in our public schools. 

According to a new report from the Manhattan Institute, 30 public school districts in 15 states are using a book called “Not My Idea” that says “’whiteness” leads white people to make deals with the devil for ‘stolen land, stolen riches, and special favors.’ White people get to ‘mess endlessly with the lives of your friends, neighbors, loved ones, and all fellow humans of color for the purpose of profit.’” 

In Cupertino, California, third graders at the R.I. Meyerholz Elementary School were told to deconstruct their identities by race, class, gender, religion, family structure, and other characteristics, and then rank themselves according to their “power and privilege.” 

In Buffalo, New York, schoolchildren were taught that “all white people” propagate “systemic racism.” Kindergarteners were forced to watch a video clip of dead black children, with warnings about “racist police and state-sanctioned violence.” 

Not surprisingly, for the first time in anyone’s memory – perhaps for the first time – public school enrollment is falling. Is it falling because of the teachers unions’ continued demands for ridiculous COVID-19 protocols? Or is it falling because parents have now been exposed to what their children are being taught and are making other arrangements to ensure their children aren’t poisoned with the toxic ideology of critical race theory? 

Honestly, I don’t know. But I’m not complaining. Whether it’s COVID-19 or critical race theory, the teachers unions have overplayed their hand, and they’re now reaping what they’ve sown. 

• Jenny Beth Martin is the co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots.

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