by Debra Heine
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is in Ukraine this week to meet with Ukrainian students and teachers and “to offer solidarity and support” to Ukrainian students and teachers “amid heinous attacks on Democracy,” according to the AFT website.
The Ukrainian teachers union, the Trade Union of Education and Science Workers, invited the AFT reportedly, “to bear witness and call attention to the effects on children, families and educators and the impact of Russia’s attacks on democracy and democratic institutions.”
“Woke up this am to reports of disgusting Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Lviv & other cities,” Weingarten tweeted on Monday. “Heading to the border now to assess the situation. This Russian attempt to frighten civilians & the effect on children (who are learning online today) is why this trip is so important.”
Weingarten’s tweet highlighted a video of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling his Russian enemies “terrorists” in the wake of Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.
Woke up this am to reports of disgusting Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Lviv & other cities.Heading to the border now to assess the situation. This Russian attempt to frighten civilians & the effect on children (who are learning online today) is why this 🇺🇦 trip is so important https://t.co/dUVOxsdwRQ
— Randi Weingarten 🇺🇦🇺🇸💪🏿👩🎓 (@rweingarten) October 10, 2022
Zelenskyy’s words follow massive attacks on Russia’s infrastructure that resulted in extensive damage to Russia’s Nord Stream Pipelines, and a huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin called both attacks terrorist acts.
Public health activist Dr. Irwin Redlener, Karen Redlener and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum joined Weingarten on the trip to “deliver assistance to Ukrainian teachers in the west of the country who have taken in thousands of internally displaced children learning in challenging conditions far from home.”
Weingarten and the Redleners will distribute children’s books and other educational materials at school visits in Lviv on Tuesday, Oct. 11. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, they will meet with refugee teachers in Drohobych and Truskavets to shine a light on Vladimir Putin’s attempt to impose autocracy on Ukraine by targeting schools and civilians.
“As Putin tries to take a blowtorch to democracy, we stand in solidarity with the educators, students and families in Ukraine,” said Weingarten in a statement. “They are fighting against Russian aggression to uphold their democracy, their freedom and their self-determination—and after nearly eight months of conflict their righteous resistance grows stronger each day.”
“The war’s effect on kids and families has been brutal, and the Ukrainian teachers’ persistence, compassion and bravery in helping students continue their learning in an active war zone should be lifted up and championed,” she added.
Weingarten will address educators in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday, Oct. 14, during a rally for Polish Teachers Day.
The delegation will report its findings to representatives of the global union movement, the AFL-CIO and the State Department. The AFT and TUESWU are members of the Global Union Federation Education International.
Weingarten is reportedly a member of the hard-left donor collective Democracy Alliance, and is reportedly a personal friend of Hillary Clinton. Under her leadership, according to Influence Watch, “AFT political spending has grown from $15 million to $44 million in less than a decade.”
Weingarten earns an annual salary and expenses of roughly $500,000 from teachers’ union dues and mandatory agency fees while overseeing a union budget that spends over $1.6 million on luxury hotels, travel, and cars for union executives.
Weingarten’s trip to Ukraine was met with derision by conservatives on social media, some of whom argued that her time would be better spent improving American schools.
Why is the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Ukraine while our kids' schools are failing? https://t.co/C9MiFEwpGS
— Libby Emmons (@libbyemmons) October 10, 2022
A couple months ago @rweingarten didn't even know which side was up on the Ukrainian flag
Now this public idiot is 'rushing to the border to assess the situation' in Lviv pretending to be a war correspondent
And we let her be in charge of our children pic.twitter.com/tiz6Vn9O3D
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 10, 2022
Why is the head of an American teachers union traveling to Ukraine in the middle of a war?
Because the managerial elite of the liberal world order see themselves as the ruling class of the global empire https://t.co/G6tv6HBbGA
— Auron MacIntyre (@AuronMacintyre) October 10, 2022
Do we need a buddy action comedy flick starring Randi Weingarten and Malcom Nance?
No. No we do not. https://t.co/cBCViBct6E
— Kyle Shideler (@ShidelerK) October 10, 2022
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Debra Heine is a reporter at American Greatness.
Photo “Randi Weingarten” by AFGE. CC BY 2.0.