The American Federation of Teachers has doubled down on opposition against Florida’s efforts to affirm parents’ role in their children’s upbringing, with its leader claiming the newly-signed education law would spark hatred and wars.
“This is propaganda. This is misinformation,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said during an interview on the Rick Smith podcast last week. “This is the way in which wars start. This is the way in which hatred starts.”
The teachers union head was referring to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which in part prohibits school districts from encouraging classroom discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.
The law has been referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its critics and major media outlets, although its text doesn’t contain such language.
Under the new law, school districts in Florida are also prohibited from withholding certain information from parents, especially when it comes to decisions affecting their children’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being. Schools may not conduct a questionnaire or health screening on a student in grades K-3 without first receiving consent from the student’s parent.
Weingarten, whose organization persuaded the federal government to issue public health guidelines that made it harder for schools to reopen, said policymakers should have focused on helping students “get out of the effects of the pandemic.”
“Instead of just doing that, these right-wing ideologues are just trying to create fear and anxiety and anger, exploiting this fear that parents already have in order to win elections and end public education as we know it,” Weingarten told Smith. “They’re using politics, creating intense long-term, harmful, cruel and political ramification.”
Weingarten further claimed that education isn’t a winning issue for Republicans in this year’s elections. To illustrate her point, she claimed that first-time Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who campaigned on a pro-parental rights, anti-leftist indoctrination platform, didn’t win because of support from parents, but because of “seniors who got really scared about all of this fearmongering.”
“Parents know this is not what we’re doing,” Weingarten said. “We’re not indoctrinating. We’re not grooming. We’re actually teaching honest history, trying to help our kids recover.”
That being said, the AFT has a record of defending The New York Times’ 1619 Project, which centers around the idea that the United States is an inherently racist nation founded primarily to preserve slavery. The Project’s historical accuracy has been challenged by numerous historians and leading scholars in the field of U.S. history, including fact-checkers hired by the Times.
The AFT also invited Ibram X. Kendi to speak at its biennial summit last July, during which the prominent critical race theory (CRT) advocate told the audience that denying being racist means they’re racist.
“To be antiracist is to admit the times which we’re being racist,” Kendi said at the conference. “To be racist is to constantly, consistently, deny, deny, deny, like Donald Trump.”
Kendi also encouraged the teachers in the audience to teach their students with a CRT framework, which interprets different outcomes among individuals as a result of racial oppression.
“If you’re a child that’s 10 years old and you see that certain racial groups have more and certain racial groups have less, you’re going to be asking why is that the case,” he added. “And to me, it is the prudent thing to do for teachers to explain that some people had less because of racial disparities, not because they are less.”
From The Epoch Times