Teachers unions pushing leftwing environmentalism in the classroom

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest teachers union, is pushing leftwing environmentalism in the classroom.

AFT Union

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s second-largest teachers union, is pushing leftwing environmentalism in the classroom. In a piece titled “Climate Change in the Classroom,” the AFT says we face challenges “from attacks on democracy to a warming planet.” And this has “moved the role of the English teacher to center stage.” 

That’s because “Humans have always been storytellers, and it has long been known that those who tell the stories control the future. It is by critically understanding the messages and engulfing them[?], and learning the skills to take action, that our students can create alternate discourses to change the present and shape the future. As English teachers, we have the ability and responsibility to excite, inspire, and empower students to recognize this potential and become involved in the issue of our age, climate change and environmental justice.”

The article from the AFT goes on to outline how teachers can bring leftwing environmentalism propaganda into the classroom: “Many states have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts,” which no longer dictate content that teachers must provide. Because there is no specific reading requirements, teachers can decide classroom content and “climate change can provide this kind of content.” 

The AFT’s article is one article in a series of pieces that attempts to push the left’s version of environmentalism in the classrooms.

About the teacher unions

The AFT, along with the National Education Association (NEA), are by-far the largest and most politically-powerful teachers unions in the country. In 2016 alone, the AFT gave $12 million to political causes and candidates, while the NEA gave $20 million. The vast majority of this money went to Democrats or leftwing groups.

Running such a powerful machine is big-bucks. The AFT president, Randi Weingarten, makes over $500,000 per year. Weingarten is also closely tied to the Democrat Party, and was an early backer of Hillary Clinton. But the AFT and NEA can’t escape allegations that they care more about their own power than they do about struggling students. The hit-documentary “Waiting for Superman,” for example, highlighted how the AFT was fighting tooth-and-nail against charter schools in poor, urban areas, despite the fact that union-controlled public schools in those areas had utterly failed generations of students.

Minnesota’s largest teachers union, Education Minnesota, is affiliated with both the AFT and the NEA. That means big AFT and NEA influence in Minnesota politics as well.

In the last governor’s race, the DFL’s Tim Walz raised and spent almost twice as much as his GOP opponent, Jeff Johnson. Likewise, the Minnesota House and Senate DFL caucuses nearly doubled the spending of the House and Senate GOP caucuses. The DFL Party, meanwhile, spent $15 million, while the Minnesota GOP spent less than $1 million. Much of that donation-haul was due to public sector unions—which negotiate pay and benefits with politicians who can pass the cost on to future taxpayers—chief of which was Education Minnesota.

Willis Krumholz

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.