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Mayorkas puts controversial union chief Randi Weingarten on DHS academic council

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced this week that Randi Weingarten, the controversial head of the American Federation of Teachers union, will be one of the new members of a DHS academic council.

Mayorkas announced that Weingarten will be one of 20 new members on the Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council. According to a press release, the council was formed last year and “will provide strategic and actionable recommendations to the Secretary on campus safety and security, improved coordination, research priorities, hiring, and more.”

“Leaders of our academic institutions and campus life have a great deal to offer in helping us counter the evolving and emerging threats to the homeland,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “The Homeland Security Academic Partnership Council’s insights into strategic research, innovation, career development, and partnership opportunities for the Department will support our mission to safeguard the American people, and help our country think through and prepare for whatever threats lie ahead. 

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More broadly, the reopening plan included a call for the cancellation of college student debt and the boosting of food stamp benefits, and overall eyed a $750 billion investment from Congress, which the AFT said “will help put us on a path to reopen safely.”

Weingarten herself called a proposal by the Trump administration to reopen in the fall of 2020 “reckless” “callous” and “cruel.”

It later emerged in 2021 that the AFT influenced the Centers for Disease Control on the language used in a document on school reopening – including concessions for remote work for “high-risk” teachers.

The school closures and other pandemic policies have repeatedly been shown to have had a devastating impact on America’s children. Test results released Wednesday show reading and math scores showed a drop in four points in reading and nine in math – the sharpest drop in 50 years.

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She has also drawn ire from Republicans over her liberal stance on how schools should deal with issues of race, sexuality and gender. In a lengthy profile of Weingarten published in the New York Times recently, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the union head “the most visible face of the destruction of American education.”

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