The American Federation of Teachers is abusing its access to children for politics.
Parents and other Americans have plenty of reasons to oppose the activities of teachers unions, but Randi Weingarten and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is adding one more, and it’s a doozy of abuse of access:
In a partnership announced this week, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) said it will purchase licensed copies of NewsGuard’s “anti-misinformation” browser extension for the union’s 1.7 million members, who will then be able to share it with the tens of millions of students they serve. …
NewsGuard says it employs a team of “trained journalists and experienced editors” to review and rate each site based on nine criteria of journalistic practice, such as whether the site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, whether it avoids deceptive headlines, and whether it discloses who owns and is financing the website.
The NewsGuard tool awards weighted points for each criterion to produce an overall score on a scale of zero to 100. A score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while a score of 60 and above earns a “Green” rating.
How a school or a district chooses to handle the thorny challenge of Internet access is a question best left local. Perhaps by policy, one district will pick a particular tool while another authorizes teachers to set classroom standards and choose their own tools. Having such obviously partisan and political organizations as teachers unions pushing particular tools through their members’ classroom access is absolutely inappropriate.
Perhaps the matter would look different if the unions really were purely service providers to teachers, but they aren’t. They are deeply engaged in elections, backing a single party almost without exception, and wherever there’s a far-left cause, they are always major supporters and usually funders. As I’ve said many times, whatever they may once have been, teachers unions are nowprogressive activist organizations that provide labor services as a mechanism for fundraising and gaining access.
Schools and communities should insist on boundaries to that access. If teachers want to walk in lockstep supporting political candidates, that’s up to them, but organized access to children for predictably political reasons crosses the line by a giant step.
Featured image by Chris Yang on Unsplash.