On Tuesday, a significant exchange took place between Texas history teacher Michael Hull and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten. During a question-and-answer session with Weingarten hosted by the Facebook group Badass Teachers Association (BATs), Hull raised critical points on the dangers involved with reopening schools, the role of Weingarten and the AFT in working with the Biden administration to implement this policy, and the underlying class issues involved. Video footage of the exchange is below.
The World Socialist Web Site interviewed Hull last November, and we encourage our readers to review this interview for more background on his experiences, which speak to those of millions of educators and other workers worldwide. Last fall, he founded the popular Facebook group Teachers Against Dying to oppose the normalization of the pandemic and the back-to-work and back-to-school policies demanded by the ruling elites. Shortly thereafter, he was retaliated against by his school district, which ultimately forced him to resign from his teaching position.
Michael Hull is a member of the Texas Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, which was also formed last fall as part of a global network of rank-and-file committees established by educators and other workers to organize the working class independently of the unions, which have conspired with the government to prematurely reopen schools and nonessential workplaces before the pandemic is contained.
Particularly since Biden’s inauguration, Weingarten has been a key figure behind the national school reopening campaign. After doing nothing to mobilize the AFT’s 1.6 million members across the US to oppose Trump’s “herd immunity” policies last fall, she recently told the New York Times that she now spends upwards of 15 hours each day on the phone with the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local mayors and local union officials orchestrating the school reopening campaign.
The anecdotes and scientific evidence that Hull presents in his remarks are a damning indictment of the homicidal policy of reopening schools. As soon as he began raising the class questions involved in the drive to reopen schools, stating that schools are simply meant to serve as “subsidized daycare for the employees of the rich,” to whom “both parties funneled and transferred wealth up to in the CARES Act,” Weingarten cut him off and issued an unscientific and cynical response. Summarizing her subservience to the Democrats and the capitalist system, she stated, “We’re not going to fight to keep the schools closed.”
We encourage educators, parents, students and all workers to join and participate in the Facebook groups for the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee and Teachers Against Dying and to share this video of the exchange between Hull and Weingarten widely on social media.
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- Texas educators launch safety committee to save lives
- The pseudoscience behind the right-wing drive to force schools to open
- The media falsely claims schools are safe: What the science actually says (Part one)