"If men were angels, no government would be necessary,” James Madison said.
Well, if people spoke honestly, no journalism would be necessary.
Journalism is about testing claims against facts and telling the public what’s true.
When Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation for Teachers, told a congressional panel that “we spent every day from February (2020) on trying to get schools open,” Michigan Capitol Confidential saw an opportunity to fact-check.
Editor John LaPlante compared Weingarten’s words in 2023 against what she and other leaders of teachers unions did between 2020 and 2022. Words and deeds were in conflict.
LaPlante found that the Detroit affiliate of the union had an odd way of trying to reopen schools: It declared what it called a “safety strike” in August 2020, with 91% of members voting to give their approval.
In July 2020, union affiliates blocked Detroit school buses from picking students up for summer school. They also sued to prevent the return of in-person schooling. The union itself was an impediment to reopening schools. Parents were, for months, the only voice in favor of returning to the classroom. Some spoke out at risk to their livelihoods.
Union opposition wasn’t limited to Detroit. In America’s biggest cities, teachers unions fought hard against the return of in-person learning.
They can attribute this to “an abundance of caution,” that favored phrase of the school leader canceling school for a snowstorm that has not yet hit. But they can’t say it didn’t happen.
Yet when Weingarten testified before Congress, she did deny it. She tried to rewrite history.
Defeat is an orphan. The lockdown, stay- home, shut-down approach of 2020 has been discredited. Its most eager defenders, including Weingarten and Michigan Gov.Gretchen Whitmer, now distance themselves from those days. Nobody embraces the COVID regime anymore.
That’s the good news. We welcome Whitmer and Weingarten to the side of sanity. But they are late arrivals, and in 2020 they were part of the problem.