Report: WEA union leaders lied about keeping public schools closed during COVID, after federal health officials knew it was safe to re-open

Apr 2, 2024

In a surprise twist, The New York Times recently acknowledged that infectious disease officials knew by the fall of 2020 that reopening public schools was safe and would not significantly spread the COVID virus.

Yet many public schools remained closed, including in Washington where nearly one million school children were harmed when their schools stayed closed the fall of 2020 and for the rest of that school year.  

Instead of following the science, school closings were based on politics and the influence of powerful unions within a state’s public system.  As the New York Times reports, schools “ Republican-led states and rural areas, reopened by fall 2020. Others, typically in large cities and states led by Democrats, would not fully reopen for another year.”

Public schools in Washington state did not permit children to return until the fall of 2021, even though private schools and public charter schools had opened to students the previous academic year.

Reports show that Washington was the 47th state to re-open public schools.  During the time that WEA union leaders insisted students stay home, public records show the union’s president, Larry Delaney, was paid $312,000, while its Executive Director, Aimee Iverson, received $415,000, all pulled from teacher paychecks.

Here are the details:

           - On July 16, 2020 the union said “teachers will die” if schools open to students.

            - On September 2, 2020 Larry Delaney said “we shouldn’t worry about how closed schools are harming children, because they [children] are all falling behind together.”  

            - On February 11, 2021 national union president Randi Weingarten pressured the federal Centers for Disease Control to recommend that public schools stay closed.

The New York Times review found that extended school closures imposed “a steep cost” on children, contributing to learning loss, increased anxiety and depression among youth, and increased in-school discipline problems.  Stanford University researchers found that school children in Washington state can expect an average 7% loss in lifetime earnings due to the lengthy COVID shut-down.

The WEA union says its mission is “to promote the teaching profession and public education in the state of Washington.”  The dishonest actions of the WEA union leadership during COVID reveal that they don’t care about the harm their political influence has on children, as long as the union maintains its position of power and, of course, as long as its top executives continue to garner large personal salaries.