When the federal government tries to usurp the freedoms of the American people, said Congressman Jody Hice (R-Ga.) on "Washington Watch," "you give them an inch and they become a ruler." That dynamic was on full display throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and nowhere more than governmental interference in school reopening. Now we've learned that the "science" was actually dictated by the teachers' unions, according to a report issued by Republicans on the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Emails obtained by the Committee reveal one of the nation's largest teachers' unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), worked closely with Biden administration officials to craft the CDC guidance. AFT's "cozy relationship with the Biden administration's political leadership at the CDC positioned the union to impose line-by-line edits," said the report. For instance, the day before the guidance was released, an AFT officer requested a last-minute insertion, "In the event high-community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary." CDC Director Rochelle Walensky forwarded that email to the Director of CDC's Center for Preparedness and Response, Dr. Henry Walke, who then revised the guidance to incorporate the union's edits. If only parents were afforded the same opportunity to dialogue with senior officials and provide direct input to federal guidance.
The cooperation -- collusion, one could argue -- gave the teachers' unions "unprecedented access to the policymaking process," warned the report. "CDC allowed AFT to insert language into the Operational Guidance that made it more likely schools across the country would remain closed after February 2021." For those tracking at home, that's not normal. Walke admitted in February that the level of cooperation was "uncommon," because the CDC doesn't normally solicit edits on draft guidance from outside parties. For the Biden administration, however, conspiring with teachers' unions to suppress the freedom of parents and students seems to be an addictive habit.
Not that the Biden administration is willing to admit it. According to the report, "documents and testimony show, however, that Director Walensky downplayed the degree to which CDC departed from past practice to allow AFT to affect the policymaking process." The first step to recovery is acknowledging they have a problem, and, come November, American voters will have the chance to participate in a scheduled intervention.
"Whatever happened to 'follow the science'?" asked Hice. "That's all the Democrats were screaming while we were going through the pandemic.... Well, where is the science?" Hice pointed out that teachers' unions were "the second largest donor to the Democratic Party," giving close to $50 million to Democratic candidates. "This was nothing but a political maneuver," he said. "And this is a frightening pathway for our government to go down.... Once this type of power grab takes place, it's very difficult to get those liberties back."
The modern word for government officials dispensing special favors to their friends (or those who can pay) is corruption. The most important principle of good government is treating all parties equally before the law. Thus, the Lord tells Moses, "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great" (Leviticus 19:15). The rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak, the well-connected and the obscure -- they should all be treated equally. Again, Moses writes, "You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe" (Deuteronomy 16:19). Partiality, of which racism is a form (see Acts 6:1), is wrong individually (James 2:1-13) and is wrong corporately. The rot of partiality has rooted itself in Washington, and it must be excised.