search icon
Live chat

How Teachers Unions Exploited COVID to Grab Funds While Keeping Schools Closed—Corey DeAngelis

“You had the teachers unions lobbying the CDC to make it more difficult to reopen schools in person so that they could hold children’s education hostage to secure multiple multibillion-dollar ransom payments from the taxpayer. And it worked for them. They received about $190 billion in supposed COVID relief.”

At the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas, I sat down with Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children and executive director of the Educational Freedom Institute.

“The school system is a massive monopoly that has no incentive to spend that money wisely,” DeAngelis argues.

What should education reform look like? Will other states choose to replicate Arizona’s new school choice policies?

Subscribe to the American Thought Leaders newsletter so you never miss an episode.

* Click the “Save” button below the video to access it later on “My List“.

 

Jan Jekielek:

Corey DeAngelis, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.

Corey DeAngelis:

Thank you so much for having me.

Mr. Jekielek:

And I should say, finally.  I’ve been watching your work for a while now.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. We’ve had a heck of a past couple of years with school choice victories in the polls, but then also in state legislatures. We’ve been passing enormous expansions of educational freedom, so it’s a good time to be a school choice advocate.

Mr. Jekielek:

Absolutely. I want to talk about all those things. Before we go there, in the last couple of years, the role of teachers’ unions in the education system has been put front and center. In a way, I don’t even think most people realized how big a role teachers’ unions play. Please start there, because this is on everybody’s mind.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. COVID didn’t break the government school system. In a lot of ways, it was already broken. The past couple of years has simply shined a spotlight on the main problem with K-12 education in this country, which happens to be a massive, long existing power imbalance between the government school monopoly and the teachers unions and individual families. You had the teachers unions lobbying the CDC to make it more difficult to reopen schools in person, so that they could hold children’s education hostage, and then secure multiple, multi-billion dollar ransom payments from the taxpayer. And it worked for them. They received about $190 billion in supposed COVID relief. A lot of that money has been used for diversity, equity inclusion officers. In some states they have used it for sports. It was never really about safety and the needs of families.

It was always more to do with politics and power dynamics. The good news is families started to understand that this is a bunch of nonsense. There’s no good reason to fund a failing closed government building, when you can fund the student directly instead. When we had the remote learning, there was so much learning lost. It hurt kids academically, mentally, and physically. The silver lining was that families got to see what was going on in the classroom. They started to see that there’s another dimension of school quality that’s really important to them, which is not captured in a standardized test score. It is whether the school’s curriculum is aligned with your values.

Families thought they had their children in good public schools, whether it was because of the state rating of A or B, or maybe their kids had good grades on their report cards. That’s not the entire picture in the schools. Families have woken up and they’re not going back to sleep. They have seen what is going on in the schools, and they’re going to continue to push back against the status quo. I’m optimistic going forward that this parent revolution isn’t going away.

Mr. Jekielek:

Do you have it in your mind where this money actually went? You called it a ransom. Where did this money actually go?

Mr. DeAngelis:

In some places in 2022, they were still fighting to keep the schools closed. Chicago teachers unions were going on strike at the beginning of 2022. At that point it was essentially like the hostage takers had received the ransom payments already and they were trying to keep the hostages. And as far as where the money went, The Wall Street Journal most recently reported that about 93 per cent of the funding from the federal level in COVID relief hadn’t even been spent yet. In some districts, like the Los Angeles public schools, they hadn’t spent a single penny of the funding. They didn’t need the money to reopen. I did a study with Christos Markides, who’s affiliated with MIT, and we found that districts that had more money, weren’t more or less likely to reopen in person. If anything, some of our models found that the districts that went remote, actually had more funding.

It wasn’t a resource problem. It wasn’t a safety problem. There was no relationship between COVID risk in the area and whether the schools reopened. The schools’ reopening was based how much influence the unions had. Of course, they kept the schools closed. Meanwhile, the private schools were able to figure it out from the get go. Families were stuck scrambling, paying out of pocket to go to private school, while still paying for the government school that was closed, which didn’t make any sense to anybody.

We had studies showing that the schools could have reopened safely. But what was more compelling were the stories right in front of our eyes. We saw the teachers going into grocery stores, shopping for their families. They were totally fine. We had the Chicago teachers union board member in Puerto Rico, vacationing in person, while railing against going back to work in person. It was just a power grab. Again, it was a horrible situation for millions of kids across the country. But the benefit here is that they overplayed their hand and awakened a sleeping giant—parents who want more of a say in their child’s education. Parents felt powerless in 2020, and they’re going to fight to make sure they never feel powerless like that ever again.

Mr. Jekielek:

I heard tons of stories now about people saying, “Thank God for this remote learning, because I actually figured out what they were teaching my child. Before that, I didn’t know.” There is that interesting silver lining, isn’t there?

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes, totally. That is what has mobilized so many parents to push for things like transparency bills. We’ve seen anti-CRT bills circulating as well.  Obviously, information is great, and those might be a step in the right direction. Banning concepts that divide kids could be a step in the right direction as well. But we’re seeing video surface now by undercover journalists from Accuracy In the Media, in states that have CRT bans like Tennessee, Idaho, and Iowa, with the administrators in the public schools admitting that they’re still doing it anyway. They have a CRT ban, but they’re saying, “We’re just going to call it something else. We’re going to call it social, emotional learning, or maybe we’ll just call it student mental health.” The better solution is what a lot of states are passing right now, which is school choice, funding students as opposed to systems. That would give a competitive incentive for the government schools to focus on the basics of education, as opposed to indoctrination, because you don’t want to upset your customer base.

At the same time, that will give families their child’s education dollars, so that they could have an education that aligns with their values, whether that’s in another public school, in a private school, in a charter school, or with a home-based education option. That’s the only way forward is with freedom, not force. In 2021, we have seen 19 states enact or expand programs to fund students as opposed to systems. We’ve seen nationwide polling at an all time high right now for school choice, with 72 per cent of Americans supporting funding that follows the child, with super majority support among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We just had a massive victory in Arizona. Every single family, regardless of income, is eligible for the school choice program. They get to take their child’s state-funded education dollars to any public, private, charter or home based education option. That’s the gold standard of school choice and Arizona just cemented itself as the number one state for education freedom. I hope others will follow.

Mr. Jekielek:

Okay. I definitely want to dig into that in a second. Before we go there, people talk a lot about teaching CRT in grade school and the school will say, “Well, we’re not teaching that.” But the real issue isn’t so much that CRT concepts are being taught theoretically, it’s that they’re being applied in the curriculum. Can you speak to that briefly?

Mr. DeAngelis:

This is another reason school choice is so important relative to transparency. Transparency bills are great, and we should definitely push for them. But the school could not list CRT in the curriculum, but then still teach in a way that has a CRT lens. You can have the CRT lens for teaching math, for example, that won’t be listed in the curriculum. So, it’s really up to the parents to make that decision for their child. That’s another issue. They will say, “Yes, it’s not in the curriculum,” but even if it’s not in the curriculum, they could still be doing things that parents aren’t happy about.

Many on the Left will just do this gaslighting where they’ll say, “That’s not CRT. That’s only something taught in law school. It’s a very far out academic concept.” But that’s not what parents are really upset about. They’re upset about segregating kids by race in public schools. That is totally backwards and not something that we should be supporting. Whether you want to call it CRT, or just discrimination, or whatever you want to call it, families know what is not okay for their kids and with their values. It is another good reason for school choice and letting families opt out of a situation that is not working for them, whatever you want to call it.

Mr. Jekielek:

Yes, you have this big legislative victory in Arizona. Of course, you’ve been talking about it a lot. You have every right to be talking about it. So, take us behind the scenes. What does this bill actually do? How easy was it to pass?

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. It’s something called the Universal Education Savings Account. This is the purest form of funding students directly and empowering families. It funds students, and not systems. It’s an education savings account. One, you could either have the funding go to your government-run school. If you like your public school, you can keep your public school. But if not, that funding, about $7,000 per child in Arizona, which is almost the entire state-level funding, would follow the child to an education savings account, that’s directed by the parents. You have to use the funding for education services, which could be private school, tuition and fees. It could be a micro-school, private tutoring, homeschooling curriculum, educational therapies for students with special needs, or any approved education provider. The funding follows the student.

What’s so monumental about this victory in Arizona is that it’s the biggest school choice victory in U. S. history. It’s the first state that allows all families, regardless of background and income, to take their children’s education dollars to the education provider of their choice. For a long time, it was debatable which was the better state on school choice; Florida or Arizona? Arizona just took the number one spot by far, because every single family is eligible. Arizona Republicans really showed us the way here. Every Democrat voted in opposition. You wanted me to talk about how this happened. It’s never easy, but it should be. It’s also a Republican party platform issue.

But remember in Arizona, they have the slimmest of margins in each chamber. They have a one seat majority both the House and the Senate. What that meant was, every single Republican had to show up, because they didn’t just require 51 per cent of those present voting, you had to have 51 per cent of the chamber voting to pass the bill. Every one of them showed up, and voted for this party platform issue. More importantly, they voted for parental rights in education, and they got it done. They expanded this program that was originally available to about 20 per cent of the population, to 100 per cent of the population, regardless of background or income.

A little of the backstory, though, last year they tried something similar. They tried to expand it from 20 per cent to about 80 per cent. 70 or 80 per cent would have been a massive expansion. It would have been great. It would have been their biggest victory in Arizona history. The Senate passed it, 16 to 14, I believe, strictly on party lines. In the House, they had three Republicans join the Democrats to kill it. This year in 2022, those same Republicans started to listen to parents and voted with the party in favor of the program. It passed this year. Obviously, Ducey signed it into law pretty recently. One of the Republicans who had originally voted in opposition last year, actually co-sponsored the bill this year. On the floor, she had mentioned that she had heard feedback from parents. Politicians are starting to realize that it is essentially becoming a form of political suicide, especially after the past two years, to come out against parental rights in education, especially as a Republican.

Mr. Jekielek:

You’re reminding me of Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial victory in Virginia.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. In a state that went 10 percentage points to Biden just the year before, Glenn Youngkin won on the issue of education by two percentage points, swinging the electorate 12 percentage points the other way. Washington posted some exit polling and asked, “What was the number one issue for you in this election?” Out of all the issues they listed, the number two issue was education, second only to jobs and the economy. For education to be a deciding factor in the election was huge, and Youngkin won with those education voters by six percentage points. This is a blueprint for success for Republicans, if they want to lean into education. They’re starting to realize they should not be coming out against parental rights like Terry McAuliffe did when he said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

[Sound bite/Terry McAuliffe]:

I’m not going to let parents come into schools-

[Sound bite/Speaker 4]:

You vetoed the bill.

[Sound bite/Terry McAuliffe]:

…and actually take books out, make their own decision.

[Sound bite/Speaker 4]:

You vetoed it, for our parents. You vetoed it.

[Sound bite/Terry McAuliffe]:

Stop the bill, then, I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.

Mr. DeAngelis:

That’s not a popular message. The people who believe that your children and the money meant for educating them belong to the government schools, they’re going to lose. Terry McAuliffe didn’t backpedal. He quadrupled down on that anti-parent rhetoric, and even had Randi Weingarten, the least liked union president ever, in my opinion, stump for him the night before the election. Even on CNN, one of the Virginia moms said that was the nail in the coffin moment for her.

[Sound bite/Speaker 5]:

How did Terry McAuliffe handle the education part of everything?

[Sound bite/Speaker 6]:

Well, parents were very angry during school closures at the teachers unions. And for me, the nail in the coffin was on his last day of campaigning, he brought the head of the teachers union to his rally and she spoke.

Mr. DeAngelis:

We’ve seen some other parent uprisings and how parents could band together and change things. It was not just with the school choice victories, and not just with elections like Terry McAuliffe going down. It was also with the National School Boards Association, who colluded with the Biden administration and sent a letter to the Justice Department. They essentially implied that some parents should be investigated for domestic terrorism for showing up at school board meetings and pushing back against CRT and other political indoctrination that was happening in the classroom. Since that happened, in the past six or seven months, 26 state-level school board associations have pulled their membership from the National School Boards Association. At this point, we might as well rename them the Regional School Boards Association, because they don’t even have a majority of the states anymore. That shows you that parents have real power.

For far too long in K-12 education, the only special interest group has been the teachers unions. Now, there’s a new special interest group in town—parents who want more of a say in their kids’ education and they aren’t going away anytime soon. I’m optimistic that they are going to win in the long run, because they will never forget what happened. They will never forget Randi Weingarten and the teachers unions pushing to keep schools closed and hurting their kids. They’re never going to forget the political stuff that was tied to the reopening of schools. In the report on safely reopening schools, you had the Los Angeles Teachers Union calling for a wealth tax, Medicare-for-all, and police-free schools. It had nothing to do with safety. It was always about their political muscle and getting whatever they want.

People are starting to realize that Randi Weingarten’s union gives almost all of their campaign contributions to Democrats. So far in 2022, 99.99 per cent of the American Federation of Teachers’ Campaign Contributions have gone to Democrats, as opposed to Republicans. These unions are hyper-partisan, political organizations that are more about politics and politicization in the classroom, than they are about educating kids. They are more about the adults in the system than they ever have been about the children. Families are waking up and they’re going to win, because parents care about their children more than anybody else. They will fight for the right to educate their children as they see fit, harder than any teachers union will ever fight to take that right away from them.

Mr. Jekielek:

When people that just generally like to be left alone get activated, that’s when a significant movement begins. It sounds like this is exactly what is happening. You said there has been a cost to education and it’s kind of obvious. Do you have numbers on the cost of virtual education? Also, there were a lot of kids that just simply weren’t attending virtually. Please quantify this for me. 

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. There have been tons of studies coming out revealing months and months of learning loss that is associated with the school closures. We’ve had studies come out in JAMA, one of the top medical journals, finding that in districts that went remote or had schools closed, the children had larger reports of mental health issues, all else equal, after including controls for background characteristics in the area. It is pretty clear that this hurt children academically and mentally. We’ve even seen reports of childhood obesity rising during the lockdown period, as well. There are a lot of costs that were associated with these closures that no one wanted to look at. They only looked at one side of the equation. They said, “There’s a potential risk of catching COVID and that is a non-zero cost.” But there were also all these other costs—academic losses, mental health issues, and the teenage suicide that spiked over the pandemic period.

No one considered those things. The people who did consider those things were called anti-science. They were called conspiracy theorists. Now, we’re seeing those same people were right all along. As far as cost of the current government school system, I already told you, they dumped $190 billion into this COVID relief. Even before the pandemic period in 2019, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the government schools spent about 15 or $16,000 per student per year. It’s probably about 19 or $20,000. In the latest California budget it is about $23,000 per student, a massive increase in spending in the government schools. Nationwide average private school tuition is only about 11 or $12,000 per student. Why not give that money to the families and let them choose an opportunity that works best for their child? With just the sheer amount of funding that has gone into the system since 1970, we have increased per pupil education expenditures by about 152 per cent, after adjusting for inflation.

Meanwhile, teacher salaries have only increased by about 8 per cent nationwide. We see this massive increase in funding. It’s not making its way to the teachers in the classroom. It’s because the school system is a massive monopoly that has no incentive to spend that money wisely. I’ve seen five studies now that I’ve summarized in a blog at The Washington Examiner called, School Choice Benefits Teachers Too. All five of those studies have found statistically significant positive effects of private and charter school competition on teacher salaries in the public schools too. Competition is good for the market for goods and services. It’s great for customers obviously, but it’s also good for employees competition in the labor market. School choice can benefit families, teachers and the rest of the populace by having a better educated citizenry.

Mr. Jekielek:

One of the criticisms I’ve heard about the Arizona situation is that there are still mechanisms by which the government can essentially control that money by saying you have to do certain things for accreditation. For example, it could be that you have to have some kind of CRT practices in your system to get access to this money. How does that work?

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. That’s not included in the Arizona bill. We should look out for any of these regulations in the future. Whenever a bill is introduced, we should look for what kind of strings might be attached to the money, but the Arizona bill is as hands off as it can be. You basically have to spend it on education. You can’t go take the education savings account money and go to your favorite restaurant or buy a car or a big screen TV.

Mr. Jekielek:

But here’s what I mean. Of course, it has to be an accredited institution. In order to be accredited, maybe you need to teach things a certain way. Maybe at the school level, it could be an influence. How do you deal with that?

Mr. DeAngelis:

We should push back against the accreditation system as well, but that’s something that exists without school choice programs. Private schools already have accreditation mechanisms. Arizona is great because it doesn’t have a testing requirement either. It doesn’t give the admissions process standards over to the state. Schools can still keep their admissions process and it’s all voluntary. They can choose whether to participate in the program or not, each and every year. Each individual family can make that cost-benefit decision for their own family. We have to be careful about making perfect the enemy of the good. The current situation is that 90 per cent of kids are stuck in government run schools where that money’s going directly to a government-controlled, government-operated institution The families don’t have a choice about whether to send it here or send it there.

I’d rather take the incremental win as a step in the right direction, even if it’s not utopia. At the same time, we don’t have to fight on one just front in this war. School choice can be one way to win this battle, but we should also fight against the accreditation system. We should fight for changing the teacher pipeline in the public and private schools. There’s a lot of different things we can be doing, in addition to these transparency bills in the public schools. If you want to change the curriculum standards in the public schools to have a more conservative outlook in the public schools, we should do all of those things. We shouldn’t see them as necessarily in competition with one another.

Mr. Jekielek:

That’s an interesting point. A number of people who are in the system have told me that teacher education and colleges are very ideological and infused with woke or CRT principles. Do you know about this? What’s the reality over there?

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. If you look at the teacher pipeline through the education schools, that’s another problem that has to be dealt with. There’s a pretty clear ideology that runs through them. But look, the argument that I hear from some people is that school choice could lead to control of the private institutions. As I said, my argument is that we’re taking this incremental win as a step in the right direction. We have kids that are already stuck in government-controlled schools. It’s all voluntary, and the schools don’t have to participate. The individual families don’t have to participate. They can choose to opt in and out every single year.

The other thing that we should also think about is if we don’t have school choice and we keep the status quo, the government can regulate private education without school choice programs. Currently, 9 out of 10 kids are in this government-controlled system. They are more likely to be indoctrinated to love big government socialism. They may turn out later on to vote to regulate private and home education without school choice programs. We have to be vigilant, every step of the way, and take the wins when we can get them.

Mr. Jekielek:

You’ve been a big advocate of this idea that anyone should be able to get access to private school. How do you see that being done? They tend to be more expensive than even in California where it’s 23,000 a year. That’s actually quite a bit, but it’s still probably less than a lot of private schools.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. I would say there’s a wide range of tuition levels for private schools. For example, in the U.S., the government schools spend about 15 or $16,000 per child. The average private school tuition in the U.S. is 11 to $12,000 per student. California just passed a budget with about $23,000 per student in the government schools. Whereas, the private school tuition is far less than that. It’s probably like 15 or $16,000 per student. You might not be able to afford the top-notch private schools, but you’ll still have more options than you had before. Let’s say it’s a $15,000 savings account amount, you’re still better off than you were towards reaching that 17 or $18,000 tuition. You could fund it privately. Some schools offer discounts for lower income families, so they have a sliding scale tuition level. Again, this is an incremental. No one, even on the Left would say, “We should oppose Pell grants just because they don’t cover the full cost of attending Harvard.”

These union groups will say, “This $7,000 in Arizona, that’s not enough to cover the top end $15,000 school in the state.” I’ll come back and say, “Okay, well the government schools in Arizona spend about 14, $15,000 per kid. You won’t allow the full amount of funding to follow the child?” Then, they won’t respond. They’ll switch to something else or they’ll say, “Well, then you’re stealing money from the public schools.” I reply, “That was your real argument, wasn’t it? It had never had anything to do with access to more private school options,” because if it was, they would support having the full funding follow the child.

Mr. Jekielek:

Do you think the public school system should be defunded in some ways?

Mr. DeAngelis:

I don’t think we should fund school systems at all. We should fund the individual students. If you want to take your child to the public school, that option should still be on the table. I’m not sitting here calling to abolish the school system altogether. We have a lot of people using the public school system. It may organically happen to be that when every single family has a choice, over time, there will be fewer public schools, I don’t want to control what that looks like. I want the market to figure it out.

I do believe that private education would have an advantage with fewer regulations and more autonomy and just more incentives to do the right thing. But at the same time, we’ve seen that the public schools get better in response to competition from school choice. 25 of 28 studies that exist on the topic find statistically significant positive effects of private school choice competition on the outcomes for students in the public schools. School choice is a rising tide that lifts all boats, just like in any other industry.

Mr. Jekielek:

There are some people that even don’t realize that these schools get their budgets based on how many students are enrolled.

Mr. DeAngelis:

This argument from the other side is interesting, which says, “This will steal money from the public schools.” My first response is, the money doesn’t belong to the government schools in the first place. It doesn’t belong to the private schools, either. It belongs to the families.  For example, no one would say that allowing families to choose their grocery store stole money from Walmart. It wouldn’t make any sense for anybody to say that. Similarly, it doesn’t make any sense for people to say that school choice or having families choose their school, steals money from the public school. It wasn’t their money to begin with. It’s the family’s money and they can still choose the public school. Why do you think that giving families an option is going to defund your institution? If you’re doing a good job, you should be confident in your product and you wouldn’t have anything to worry about.

They understand though, that a lot of families aren’t happy with what they’re getting. And that’s  a good argument for school choice, not one against it. But another little wrinkle to that narrative from the other side is that in Arizona with this massive victory, it’s only the state level funding. The public schools keep all the local and federal dollars. They keep about half. Just imagine if you stopped shopping at Walmart for whatever reason, and you started shopping at Trader Joe’s, and then Walmart got to keep half of your grocery bill or funding in perpetuity. It would be a good deal for Walmart. I would argue that this Arizona program and other school choice programs, are good deals for the public schools as well. They mathematically must end up with higher per pupil revenues and expenditures, because they keep thousands of dollars for students who are no longer there. That’s a good deal. It’s a win-win situation and it gives families a choice at the same time.

Mr. Jekielek:

Your organization, The American Federation for Children, has an action fund. Tell me about what you do with that and how you incentivize using that.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. At the American Federation for Children, we have C3, C4, and PAC capabilities as well. What’s great is that we can become involved in local elections. For example, in Arizona, part of the story is that they have slimmest margins of Republicans and they were able to get it done. Yet, in Oklahoma this year, and in Utah as well, they weren’t able to get the same thing done, even though the Oklahoma House of Representatives has about 80 per cent Republicans. If Arizona could do it, why couldn’t they do it? The thing is, in deeper red states, you have the teachers unions playing in Republican primaries. They’ll cherry pick a candidate that is a Republican on everything else, except for their party platform issue of school choice. They will get them to kill the bill, typically in one chamber.

We saw this play out in Texas. In 2017, we had the votes in the Senate. In Texas, even before all this COVID stuff, they passed the Universal Education Savings Account through their Senate. It was pretty dang easily. Only two Republicans sided with the Democrats in voting against it, but they still had enough votes to do so. Though, it didn’t even get voted on in the House in 2017. But things are different now, and I think the political winds have changed. If Texas were to kill a school choice bill like they did in 2017 in the House, it would turn into a national embarrassment for Republicans in that state.

I think they’ve changed their mind. Like in Arizona, for example, those three Republicans who voted against it last year, voted for the school choice bill this year to have the biggest school choice victory in U.S. history. The AFC Action Fund is involved in elections, and in our primary races. So far this year, about 75 per cent of candidates who were supported by the American Federation for Children Action Fund and its affiliates, were successful in their primaries, or advanced to runoffs.

School choice is becoming more of a political litmus test for Republican candidates in particular. Just think about Iowa, for example. Governor Reynolds is a staunch supporter of educational freedom. She had an Education Savings Account Bill kind of like Arizona’s, not as expansive, but it would’ve been a good win. They passed it through the Senate, and only one Republican voted with the Democrats. But in the House, which is 60 per cent Republican, they could not get the votes to pass the ESA that was championed by the governor. Then, she went out and endorsed nine candidates in the Republican primaries, with most of those races having a clear dividing line of school choice as being the main issue. Eight of those nine candidates supported by Reynolds won their primaries. So, we might have a very good shot in Iowa of having a big victory next year as well.

The political winds are changing. Politicians are starting to realize that coming out against parental rights in education can be politically detrimental for them. We’re seeing that in the primaries right now. It will be interesting to see how things go in the general election in November. On that, Randi Weingarten’s union did some internal polling on likely voters in battleground states like Pennsylvania and in some of the other states. It was conducted for the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten’s union. They found that Republicans were winning on education with these likely voters in battleground states. A lot of people thought that when that happened in Virginia with Glenn Youngkin that it was a one-off. They thought that it was just because of the school closures, and because everything had been so recent.

But now here we are, several months later, and it is July 2022. The schools have been open for quite a while now, and you have Republicans winning on the issue of education. They also asked in that same poll for the union, who the voters thought was more responsible for overly politicizing education. They were saying that the Democrats were more likely to politicize education right now by about five or six percentage points. So, there’s a huge difference there. It’s completely counter to Randi Weingarten’s narrative that it’s all the fault of the Republicans. Those voters are saying something else.

Mr. Jekielek:

This is actually funny. I was going to ask you about this because I saw that Randi Weingarten had tweeted that this whole issue has become too politicized. And I thought, I agree with her. This is one of the things I agree with her on. But clearly, that’s not what she meant.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Yes. I think she was calling herself out. Have you seen that meme where the guy has the hot dog suit and says, “We’re all trying to find the guy who did this?” Randi Weingarten’s union is overly politicized.  So far in 2022, 99.99 per cent of her campaign contributions have gone to Democrats as opposed to Republicans. Her unions made the whole pandemic politicized by fighting to keep the schools closed. They included a bunch of nonsense, like Medicare for all, police-free schools, and a wealth tax in order to reopen schools in Los Angeles, which is an affiliate of Randi Weingarten’s union. The Chicago Teachers Union, another affiliate of Randi Weingarten’s, tweets out that the push to reopen schools is rooted in racism, sexism, and misogyny. They deleted the tweet a little later, after I responded with a headline from CNN that said that school closures had disproportionately hurt non-white students and lower income students.

It was completely opposite of what they were trying to claim, but you could see how they were just trying to keep the schools closed as long as possible, and keep the gravy train going. No other industry did this. If the grocery stores closed, you could take your money elsewhere. If your private schools closed, you could take your money elsewhere. The public schools didn’t have that incentive. They had an incentive to keep their benefits the same, not have to go into work, not have to commute, not have to provide the in-person services for children, but they kept the salaries. Then, it was worse than that, because they knew that they could leverage that for a bunch of little political goodies and more money. It’s just totally backwards, the set of incentives that are baked into the school system. I don’t blame the people in the system. I blame the system itself and families are figuring that out too. That’s why we’re seeing so much success with school choice and on other fronts when it comes to education and more freedom.

Mr. Jekielek:

Corey DeAngelis, it’s such a pleasure to have you on the show.

Mr. DeAngelis:

Thank you so much again for having me.

Mr. Jekielek:

Thank you all for joining Corey DeAngelis and I on this episode of American Thought Leaders. We’re recording here at Freedom Fest. I’m your host, Jan Jekielek.

Follow EpochTV on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EpochTVus
Rumble: https://rumble.com/c/EpochTV
Truth Social: https://truthsocial.com/@EpochTV

Gettr: https://gettr.com/user/epochtv
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EpochTVus
Gab: https://gab.com/EpochTV
Telegram: https://t.me/EpochTV

Read More
Popular