The American Federation of Teachers, or AFT, is one of the biggest teachers unions in America, second only to the massive National Education Association. I guess there is no prize for second place, and now the president of the AFT has made her organization the laughingstock of the education community. AFT President Randi Weingarten tweeted an article from Detroit News about a family that switched schools to be somewhere with a mask mandate. In Weingarten’s words “This parent chooses to drive her students to a school district that has a mask mandate. Masks save lives and limit the spread of COVID.” Weingarten probably thought she was making a clever point about masks, but her tweet quickly backfired.
From every corner of Twitter, commenters emerged to congratulate her on her sudden conversion to the school choice movement. These jovial activists mercilessly prodded Weingarten for supporting school choice on the basis of masking but still refusing to acknowledge the obvious benefits of school choice overall.
Beyond all the jokes, there is a real point to be made here. America has spent so much time arguing about whether or not schools should require students to wear masks. Have we been missing the obvious solution this whole time?
If parents had the power to choose which educational options are best for their children, this would be a no-brainer. If you want your child to wear a mask, simply send him to a school with masks. If not, send him to a school without masks. With the free market driving the decisions rather than the teachers unions, schools would quickly learn to drop the mask mandates if they see a mass exodus of students.
Despite this glimmer of sanity from the otherwise hopelessly corrupt American Federation of Teachers, teachers unions are fully committed to squashing parental choice in education wherever possible. Despite what they say, their anti-choice position is not based on a desire to help students. In reality, they just don’t want to loosen their iron grip on the power behind education. It’s time to kick the unions to the curb and empower parents to make choices that are best for their children.