Shameless: Teachers Union Boss Launches Fact-Challenged Attack Against Ron DeSantis

There aren’t many figures in modern American life more contemptible than Randi Weingarten, political hack, union boss, and anti-child zealot. Her cynical agitation and endless fear-mongering deliberately cause active harm to be inflicted upon millions of American children who were denied in-person classroom instruction last year. The teachers unions, bureaucrats, and elected officials who fought to keep classrooms closed did so while ignoring overwhelming data and callously turning a blind eye to the myriad disastrous ramifications of their failed ‘remote’ learning regime. We know, for instance, that Weingarten’s special interest group lobbied behind the scenes in order to shape the official “science,” in contradiction of the actual science, then later questioned the real science when they were no longer sufficiently influencing the decision-making process. Weingarten is now hedging about the reopening of schools this coming fall, using the slippery qualifier “try.” There are plenty of people with vested interests who will leap at any opportunity to lock children — who effectively have zero risk of dying from COVID — out of schools again, caring not a whit about the resulting learning loss and developmental devastation. And now, this disgraceful hypocrite is predictably attacking the governor of Florida, yet again:

In fairness to Weingarten, it’s no great shock that she’d harbor great resentment toward Ron DeSantis. Not only is he a Republican, while she’s a partisan, anti-GOP fanatic; he also saw to it that the kids and families of Florida were spared from her horrendous school closures racket last academic year. Not only did he make an incredibly consequential, pro-education, pro-science decision that kept classrooms open — anathema to her agenda — the stellar results of that decision disproved her anti-empiricism scare tactics elsewhere, exposing them as selfish, political data denialism. She’ll never forgive him for that. Now she’s raging against DeSantis ensuring that Florida parents will be able to choose whether their children are masked or unmasked in schools starting in the fall. She wants unions calling the shots, with many parents having no choice but to fall in line, per usual. Here’s DeSantis explaining his policy late last week, citing relevant data. As you listen to this rational and reasonable speech, please enjoy the mental image of steam coming out of Randi Weingarten’s ears:

“There’s no off-ramp. We were told that the off-ramp was vaccination. Now we’re told that that’s not going to be the case and now you’re going to have to do masking, you may have to do restrictions and other severe forms of mitigation that will have a devastating impact on so many people’s lives and livelihoods and freedoms. So CDC’s policies, by doing this so ham-handedly by not looking things like this Brown study, it really shows a callous disregard for the physical, emotional, and academic well-being of our children,” he said. “They need to be put first. We had this whole year and a half where so many people in society wanted to put kids last. They wanted to impose most of the extreme mitigation on the kids that were the least likely to face any negative harm from this and, obviously, who were in very developmental stages where this could do a lot of potential damage. The forced masking, it has harmed students.”… “I want to empower parents to be able to make the best decisions they can for the well-being of their children… we need to make sure that the parents’ rights are protected. The parents have to come first.”
“Good politics, good policy,” writes Allahpundit, and I agree. If you have time, click through and watch a recent DeSantis roundtable on the child masking question, featuring a medical professor from Stanford. Or just look at the restriction-minded UK government following the data and not requiring masks for their students in schools — to great effect. Allowing parents to make this call for their kids is the right thing to do. Because the unions loathe choice and despite competition, it’s no wonder Weingarten is steamed. As for her second line of attack, echoing the legions of leftist DeSantis haters in the media and political class (including this clown, who really, really should keep his mouth shut on COVID matters), Weingarten accuses the governor of doing nothing to help with his state’s Delta variant surge. First off, let’s acknowledge that the surge is real — not just on cases, but on hospitalizations, too. That’s concerning. COVID deaths have been almost completely decoupled from cases among the vaccinated, and our health system’s ability to treat Coronavirus has improved since the earliest days of the pandemic.

Hopefully, the wave hitting Florida (along with many other places, including California) will prove disproportionately non-lethal compared to previous spikes in case loads. This seems likely, thanks to the vaccines and natural immunity, especially if the latest UK wave is any guide. But unvaccinated people dying after contracting the virus, while still fairly rare, is absolutely a terrible reality, and it’s important to recall that the Delta variant is particularly contagious. Some ‘experts’ and others want people in DeSantis’ shoes to reimpose various mandates and restrictions, which DeSantis has already rejected. He’s threaded the needle pretty well thus far, leaning heavily on data and input from non-alarmists, and he’s not about to shift his successful strategy now (Florida’s COVID death rate and unemployment rate are better than the national average, and significantly outperforming states like New York). And at this stage, the best any leader can realistically do is try to get as many people vaccinated as possible — especially their most vulnerable citizens, leading with the elderly. DeSantis has been locked in on this overwhelmingly crucial task from the beginning, hilariously drawing barbs from his relentless critics for his obviously correct initial decision to prioritize seniors for the earliest shots.

Florida’s government mobilized rapidly to protect its most vulnerable citizens, and raced to immunize seniors. It was a successful rollout. DeSantis appeared on national television, on multiple occasions, to personally oversee important vaccine milestones. Shots went into arms live on the air. He himself got vaccinated and has encouraged vaccination with rational and respectful arguments. This recent showing was a clinic in strong, persuasive communication:

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Relatively rare breakthrough cases aside (which, like mine, are overwhelmingly mild or even asymptomatic, thanks to the vaccines’ strong efficacy), it’s true that America’s current Delta wave — especially the severe cases and deaths — are nearly exclusively concentrated among the non-vaccinated. The best thing public officials can be doing right now, by far, is convincing the hesitant to get vaxxed. DeSantis’ words and actions are doing just that — including, I would argue, rebuffing calls for new restrictions or mandates that could signal to vaccine skeptics that the government will try to control them no matter what they do, thus eroding a powerful incentive to get jabbed. I’ll leave you with a good, continuing trend. A combination of factors, including valid fears, have boosted vaccination rates in the US. Let’s hope this continues:

Also, the ideological fault lines of this element of the debate will be interesting. Thoughts, Randi? You want masks on little children for no good reason, but what about this?

UPDATES – Pointed criticism and pointed pushback:

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