More Red than Ed

By Larry Sand
January 7, 2020

Radical teacher’s movement picks up some steam in 2019 and national unions join in.

#RedforED began as a grassroots teachers’ movement that was organized on Facebook in early 2018. Cooked up by Noah Karvelis, a 24-year-old music teacher and socialist from Arizona, its raison-d’etre is ultimately class warfare. Karvelis’ own words are ripped from The Communist Manifesto: “Realizing the power of the proletariat, the ruling class (to borrow Marxist terms) has constantly attempted to extinguish the potential for a working-class revolution.

The blatantly left-wing political movement didn’t get off to a rousing political start, however. As Mike Antonucci reports, in November 2018, 13 educators won and 25 lost in West Virginia, but 10 of the 13 educator winners were incumbents. In Oklahoma, 17 educators were victorious and 31 were not. While 14 educators won in Arizona and only seven lost, 11 of the 14 winners were incumbents.

But #RedforED picked up momentum in 2019, and was promptly co-opted by the teachers unions. (The roots may have been grassy, but the edifice that grew around it was pure steely Big Union.) Over at Breitbart, Michael Patrick Leahy outlines the top 10 #RedforEd political power plays in 2019. He writes, for example, that at the end of May, #RedforEd lobbied for significant increases in local property taxes in North Carolina. It’s also notable that after a big union push, sitting Kentucky governor Matt Bevin lost by a fraction of a percentage point – just 5,000 votes – to the much more union-friendly Andy Beshear in November.

Perhaps the biggest current goal of #RedforED and all teacher union activists is flipping purple states in 2020, and ousting Donald Trump from office. In 2016, Trump eked out victories in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and the unionistas plan to concentrate their efforts in those and other battleground states to make sure that Trump is just a one-term president. Worth noting is that “teacher” was the most common occupation listed for donors to socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the fourth-quarter of 2019.

Speaking of Trump, the teachers unions are already doing what they can to kill his presidency. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten weighed in on the impeachment circus, accusing the president of “betraying American democracy.” She ended her rant in a AFT press release with the hackneyed, “Truth and transparency are the strongest disinfectant of all.” (This coming from a woman who outrageously claimed that school choice is really about resisting integration, and that school-choice programs are “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.”)

But what about the children? Well, the unions also have big plans for them. In the fall 2019 edition of American Educator, the quarterly AFT magazine, teachers are given sample lessons. As The College Fix reports,

“The 44-page issue includes 13 references to ‘tolerance,’ 15 to ‘equity,’ 32 to ‘racial identity,’ 33 to ‘racism,’ 34 to ‘diversity,’ 39 to ‘discrimination,’ 52 to ‘prejudice,’ 54 to ‘hate,’ 79 to ‘identity,’ and 102 to ‘bias.’ Perhaps surprisingly, ‘white supremacy’ only appears three times.”

The true nature of #RedforED and the teachers unions is summed up in a speech that California Federation of Teachers president Jeff Freitas gave when elected to the post in March 2019. “I believe that when we fight for education, we also fight for social justice, racial justice, gender equality, LGBTQ rights, and climate justice.” He adds, “During our 100th anniversary year as a labor union, I am reminded that the CFT and our national affiliate, the AFT, have a long history of advocating for issues that reach far beyond the classroom.” (Emphasis added.)

To be sure, not all public school teachers are leftists and not all leftist teachers will try to indoctrinate their students. But some will. As such, parents must be proactive. Please visit your child’s school, talk to their teachers, inspect the work they assign, peruse the bulletin boards, and ask questions. Most importantly, check in with your kids daily, and deprogram them if necessary. If you don’t, you very well may wind up with a brainwashed son or daughter you will not recognize.

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Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers and the general public with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues. The views presented here are strictly his own.

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