Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Teacher union chief: We have to trust experts, scientists to safely reopen schools

Allen and Weingarten

Axios' Mike Allen (L) and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten (R). Photo: Axios

Decisions on school re-openings should be left to scientists and experts, not ideologues, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said Thursday at a virtual Axios event on the Future of Employability.

What they're saying: "I am a social studies teacher and a lawyer. I'm not a scientist, but I have to follow what the experts are telling us. They have a sense of what you actually need to do and when you follow them. If we had done that, we would be in a lot better shape in the United States," Weingarten said.

Between the lines... Weingarten says it's also necessary for officials to strengthen the quality of remote learning, including expanding access to broadband internet and ensuring homes have enough devices to go around.

  • "Before the pandemic ... I would have said that distance learning is not a substitute for in-person. It can supplement, but it can never substitute for," Weingarten said.
  • "We have an obligation to make remote better because until we can really decrease (coronavirus) community spread throughout the United States, distance learning and distance working is going to be a fact of life," she added.

Watch the event.

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