Teachers union had hotline to Education secretary on COVID policy, parents had ‘no voice’: watchdog
- June 25, 2023
The country’s two largest teachers unions had direct access to the Education Department during the pandemic while parents had “no voice,” says a watchdog group of retired and former public servants.
Michael Chamberlin, the director of the group, Protect the Public’s Trust, made the claim in a recent episode of the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, saying research found “extensive coordination between … the two main teachers unions and high-level officials in the Department of Education,” namely the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
The group obtained the information through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Chamberlain also said the unions had “almost daily conversations” with the department, while the presidents of the unions “had a standing monthly check-in call” with Education Secretary Michael Cardona.“[A] lot of this was going on at the same time when the department completely botched an attempt to set up a parent’s advisory group,” Chamberlin said. “So while they were communicating and coordinating on an almost daily basis with the unions, they just could not figure out how to even communicate with the parents.”
Chamberlain also said there was “certainly disparate treatment” between the unions and parents and that the two unions’ influence was ubiquitous. “It was in COVID policy. It was return to schools. It was all over the place,” he said. “Whatever issue the department was involved in, the unions had” what “appears to be one of the largest voices of input.”