by Frank Holmes, reporter
The nation’s teachers unions have thrown their full weight behind electing Joe Biden president in 2020 — which may prove they have learned nothing from history.
When he was vice president, the very same unions hated the Secretary of Education and accused the Obama-Biden administration of backing a “failed education agenda”—an agenda Biden is likely to revive during the four, or eight, years he or Kamala Harris serve in office.
Still, the biggest labor organizations in the public schools have made it clear that they back Biden, because they consider defeating President Donald Trump their top priority.
The two largest teachers unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, have already doled out $25 million for the 2020 election—with 97 percent of donations going to Democrats. That haul doesn’t include organized labor’s history of providing the manpower for Democratic get-out-the-vote campaigns.
The three-million-member NEA formally endorsed Joe Biden on March 14, and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García praised the former vice president as a “tireless advocate for public education” who understands that funding NEA members is a “moral responsibility.”
The 1.6 million-member AFT endorsed Biden a week later. “Biden is with us,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “We are now Team Biden!”
The NEA pointed out that Biden’s second wife, Jill, is an NEA member, and Weingarten “reminded Biden of the good work they had done together during the Obama administration,” according to a press release.
But Weingarten and Eskelsen García might want to brush up on their history.
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The two union leaders personally savaged the Obama-Biden administration’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, who served in that position for seven of the eight years Biden was vice president.
“I was not a big fan of Arne Duncan,” Weingarten admitted.
That’s putting it mildly. Teachers unions actually demanded that Duncan resign.
The NEA passed a resolution at its 2014 convention calling on Duncan to step down, saying his policies did nothing but “undermine public schools and colleges, the teaching education professionals, and education unions.”
Duncan backed measures to hold teachers accountable for students’ test scores, fire bad teachers, and pay more to teachers in high-achieving classrooms. But that goes against the purpose of many unions, which try to get the greatest guaranteed income and job security for all their members—good or bad—equally.
Teachers unions held 56 strikes in eight states between 2010 and 2015, while Duncan was in office.
Eskelsen García so lost her cool that she told the Obama-Biden administration bluntly: “Stop the stupid!”
But Duncan stayed on, becoming the second-longest-serving Education Secretary in U.S. history—and when he left, Joe Biden gave him a hero’s farewell.
“Arne Duncan has been one of the best Secretaries of Education in our nation’s history,” Biden said in 2015. Biden called Duncan “a dynamic leader” who has made “unprecedented strides in changing the direction of education in this country.”
None of this has made the unions reconsider their support for the aging Democrat, anymore than it has in years past. The NEA endorsed Hillary Clinton early in the last presidential race, even though 60 percent of its members were Republicans or independents.
When asked why they back Biden, the union bosses cite every issue except education.
Weingarten said the Trump administration’s opposition to amnesty for illegal “immigrants and asylum-seekers” has turned the U.S. into “a platform for the promotion of hatred and prejudice, a pulpit for authoritarianism.”
She promised last year that the AFT will turn teachers into “political activists,” because “as educators with a conscience, we can do nothing else.”
Meanwhile, Eskelsen García blasted President Trump for reversing the Obama-era policy of letting men who identify as females use girls’ showers and locker rooms. She said by respecting girls’ privacy, Trump had subjected “our transgendered students” to “despicable, intentional, institutional humiliation.”
She also said the NEA will work on “beating back vouchers” and pressuring politicians “to raise needed taxes and get more money” for government-funded daycare.
At its convention this summer, the NEA passed resolutions supporting open borders, Black Lives Matters, and teaching transgender studies in kindergarten—including a resolution to let gender-fluid five-year-olds in kindergarten choose their own pronouns.
Endorsing Biden despite his disappointing performance in office shows that teachers unions put hating Donald Trump and advancing a far-left political agenda over their dues-paying members’ wishes and well-being.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”