(Daily Caller News Foundation) — American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was paid nearly half a million dollars during the 2021-2022 school year, a report from Americans for Fair Treatment stated Wednesday. Weingarten raked in six-figures while simultaneously pushing for schools to stay shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With teachers union dues, Weingarten is paid $449,562, the Americans for Fair Treatment report stated. Weingarten’s salary is about seven times more than the average high school teacher makes as of 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor.
To continue to keep children out of school, Weingarten and her organization, along with the National Education Association, helped draft the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s school reopening guidance, Fox reported. When the CDC announced in-person instruction was safe in January of 2021, the AFT called the reopening “reckless and unsafe” for educators and children.
The AFT supported a lawsuit filed by a Florida teachers union against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for the reopening of schools, a press release showed. Because of DeSantis’ “ignorance,” “millions of Floridians” will die, Weingarten stated.
Weingarten also favored a teacher strike in Chicago after the CDC announced children could return to schools.
Suzanne Bates, senior writer and researcher for Americans for Fair Treatment, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that teachers are frustrated with how the union is representing them.
“The cities were most affected by school closures during Covid-19 and Randi Weingarten was absolutely at the forefront of trying to keep schools closed,” Bates said. “Now of course, I think we all knew this was coming, we’re seeing that this has had huge impacts on children, and they’re way behind, especially in these inner city schools.”
The AFT spent $49 million of members’ dues in the 2021-2022 school year on funding political left-wing groups such as American Bridge 21st Century, the “largest research, video tracking, and rapid response organization” for Democrats, the report showed. Of that $49 million, the AFT gave $11.3 million to New York State United Teachers’ political advocacy funds which focus mainly on Democratic candidates.
The American Bridge 21st Century did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
The focus on New York schools in 2022 is important to the AFT, Bates said.
“They’re heavily involved in New York City politics and New York state politics,” Bates said. “That’s why you’re seeing that huge donation, but they do give to other organizations as well, that also fund campaigns at the state and local level. Most education policy is directed at the state and local level. Teachers unions want to make sure that they get pro-union candidates in power at the state level and then at the local level.”
As the president, Weingarten is at the forefront of the AFT’s spending, Bates said.
“She’s really been able to entrench herself sort of in both the union and then just in American politics in general,” Bates said.
The AFT did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.