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MUST-WATCH: Fox’s MacCallum Blisters National Teachers Union President On Alleged Influence On Biden, Critical Race Theory, 1619 Project

   DailyWire.com
Host Martha MacCallum as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits "The Story With Martha MacCallum" at Fox News Channel Studios on October 30, 2019 in New York City.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

In a heated exchange with Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, Fox News’ Martha MacCallum blasted the teachers’ unions for their reluctance to let children back into school over the past year, asserting, “The Trump administration was very aggressive. They wanted to get kids back into classroom.”

MacCallum also targeted Weingarten for her comment that parents fighting against the teaching of Critical Race Theory and the teachings of The 1619 Project, which noted historians have strongly criticized, were trying to ban a “factual version of oppression.” MacCallum snapped of The 1619 Project’s version of history, “That is not factual. That is not true.”

MacCallum pointed out that two Texas school board candidates who opposed the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools won by 40 points, adding, “If you raise children in this country believing that it’s a bad country that was founded in wanting to preserve slavery, which is simply not true, then we’ve got a problem in our school system. And apparently people noticed it in that district in Texas, and they voted in people that they think are going to make sure that that is clear to all the parents.”

Weingarten repeatedly dodged the question when MacCallum pressed her whether she thought the perspective of The 1619 Project was a “factual” version of American history, first answering, “I believe we should teach history. And from everything I can see and understand from the data I see, 1619 was the year that the first slave boat came from Africa to the United States,” then replying, “I have not arrived at the same conclusion from her work as you have.”

“I would hope that Fox would be just as focused on, let’s get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election,” Weingarten said. “I favor us teaching about 1776, which I have often done, I favor us teaching about 1619. I also favor us teaching about the Holocaust.”

MacCallum concluded the interview by saying, “I come from a long line of very proud teachers, and I’m very proud of the teachers in my family. I think some of them would be a little disturbed by some of what they see happening.”

Transcript below:

MacCallum: One-third of American public school kids are still not fully back at school. The teachers’ unions have been accused at times of dragging their feet and more recently of having too much influence over the White House and the CDC on this political hot potato. So when the New York Post reported that the American Federation of Teachers Union known, known as AFT, was able to coax their language directly into CDC policy that got a lot of attention, take a look. And AFT official wrote this about guidance that the CDC was proposing: “We would like to share some thoughts regarding the paragraph below… at any level of community transmission, all schools can provide in person instruction, (either full or hybrid), through strict adherence to mitigation strategies.”

In other words, everybody can go back in one way or another, as long as you stick to the mitigation practices, but the AFT wanted this exception at it into that policy: “In the event high community transmission results from a new variant of SARS-COV-2, a new update of these guidelines may be necessary.” And as you can see on the other side of your screen, they got that almost word for word. So joining us now exclusively AFT, President Randi Weingarten. Randi, good to have you back. Thank you very much for being here. So you can see why that would lead people to think that you all have a lot of muscle over at the White House when it comes to reopening our schools?

Weingarten: So the bottom line is this, Martha, that’s the kind of issue, the variants that were going on at that moment, that kept the Great Britain schools closed. And so we were concerned about it. But let’s actually look at the bottom line here. Right now. 97% of schools are open. And the bottom line, and you and I have had this conversation a lot of times, and you know that we put this plan together April 2020–

MacCallum: I went back through your plan again today, but 90, that’s a very high number. It’s 67% that are back in full time, right?

Weingarten: There’s 67% back in full time, there’s 30 some odd percent back in in a hybrid basis. We believe that the conditions have changed now so that everybody can be back in full time. But the bottom line is this. I begged the Trump administration, I can show you I have many, many, many letters right now, I went to my office to find them. I begged the Trump administration to do exactly what the Biden administration did, which is real safety guidance that Trump, that the former President, didn’t mock every other day. I thought Redfield was really trying to do a good job, and resources. And what Biden did was they did the safety guidance, some of which–

MacCallum: But the point is, but here’s the point. A lot of these schools went back already. Right. So you’re saying yes, the Trump administration was very aggressive. They wanted to get kids back into classroom. And one of the reasons they wanted that was because the study was already showing last fall that transmission among children was very low. You had countries in Europe, you had people all over the place in China, sending their kids back to school, when our children were not going back to school. And that’s why there was so much frustration–unless you’re in a Catholic school or a private school–those kids have been back 100% since September, Randi.

Weingarten: Actually, a lot of the charter schools Martha have not been back.

MacCallum: Most of them are.

Weingarten: But the bottom line is this, we, if we, if we had actually listened to Dr. Redfield and the CDC last May, and that the President, the former president, hadn’t kept on changing his mind and changing these things, we would have gotten more schools back in session.

MacCallum: Really? Because what you told me was that there wasn’t money, that some of these schools had problems like mold, I mean, all these things started getting into the mix that were not part of the equation at all, when parents were just wanting to get their kids to go back. So obviously, you didn’t have the pull with the prior administration. But in this administration, there have been $20 million has gone from, to Democrats from teachers’ unions and teachers’ organizations. So I guess that that money seems to be working.

Weingarten: Actually, what’s working is, that in September and October, we were getting a lot of kids back to school with the layered-mitigation, with the testing. The real game changer, unfortunately, became huge increase in COVID in November and December, that put the brakes on a bunch of it–

MacCallum: That’s true.

Weingarten: And then the second game changer became the Biden administration, where they, look, the Trump administration helped Pfizer and Moderna get that vaccine done, but the Biden administration got it out to people. And that became the real game changer.

MacCallum: Well, that’s what started in January, that’s when they were available. So you know, I mean, that that’s the way it happened. But the fact of the matter is that transmission was very low, even in the fall. There were plenty of colleges and independent schools that were back all fall that were in the classroom.

Weingarten: The bottom line became they were back in the fall. And then they went by in and out, we had this conversation about the 3% in, in New York City. My bottom line, Martha is, it’s time for our kids to be back in school. And I am grateful that the Biden administration is listening to parents and to teachers and administrators and to even Fox to try to figure out how we get people vaccinated, how we get our kids back to school, and how we get on them asking about vaccinations.

MacCallum: Absolutely. Everyone agrees on that score. I mean, we can we can discuss why it didn’t happen a long time ago. But God forbid, you know, I mean, now it’s spring, right, school’s almost over. And a lot of these kids are not back yet. What will it take? You said, it’s time to go back? So are teachers going to require that all the students are vaccinated? And when is that going to be? Are you going to have everyone back in September 100% in class five days a week?

Weingarten: I hope so. I hope so.

MacCallum: And will you require that every student who comes into the school is vaccinated?

Weingarten: No.

MacCallum: No, absolutely not.

Weingarten: But that’s why you have to still have some mitigation because it’s only emergency use vaccination right now. But I would hope that Fox would do what everybody else in public health is doing, which is we have to get our kids vaccinated once the vaccination is okay. I would hope Fox says to all these people that don’t want the vaccines, that think there’s a problem, why don’t you and I do things together to get our kids back to school? This is what we need to do. We have to stop the misinformation. We have to stop the disinformation efforts.

MacCallum: As you know, many of those students were back without being vaccinated. And the CDC said it wasn’t required for teachers or students to be vaccinated to go back to school. So children are a separate issue; every family across America is going to make that decision about their children, we know that these are going to be widely available for them, which is great, so people have that option, and we certainly hope that they take advantage of that option.

The segment later continued:

MacCallum: So as you know, folks at home there are several states that have now taken action to ban what’s called critical race theory from being taught in their schools. Randi Weingarten says that opponents are trying to ban a “factual version of oppression.”

She asked, “You have said that we quoted you on the way to the break that you know that there’s that this is a factual finding the 1619 report that was put together in The New York Times that now has been converted to learning materials that are in classrooms, and are parts of curriculums. Do you believe that 1619 is a factual program?”

Weingarten: So, Martha, I believe that I’m a history teacher, and I’m a social studies teacher. And I believe we should teach history. And from everything I can see and understand from the data I see 1619 was the year that the first slave boat came from Africa to the United States. So that’s a point in history that I think we should be teaching.

MacCallum: But that’s I mean, that’s very simplistic, you know, take on it. I mean, the 1619 9 project teaches that that’s the true beginning and the founding of our nation, not 1776. And that the reason for the revolution, and the colonization was because people wanted to preserve, colonists wanted to preserve slavery, that the country was founded on the basis of wanting to preserve slavery. But that is not factual. That is not true. In fact, scholars in this area, say there’s no evidence that colonists were motivated by that in coming to the United States. So it would be wrong as a historian to want to teach them something that is not true, because that’s the basis that sets up all these other tenets that lead to teaching kids that we live in a systemically racist country.

Weingarten: So I would actually say that I’ve had several conversations with Nicole Hannah Jones. And I have not arrived at the same conclusion from her work as you have. But let’s put it this way.

MacCallum: Well, that’s not my conclusion. That’s directly from their work. But go ahead.

Weingarten: I would hope that Fox would be just as focused on, let’s get rid of the misinformation about what happened in this election. This election was free —

MacCallum: Randy, come on, that this is not the topic that we’re here to talk about. I’m not going to talk about that. We’ve talked about that before, but that’s a dodge, okay? Because children in this country, we rank 36th in math. Okay. That’s about midway of all the developed nations in this country. So I am asking you, as you say you’re a social studies teacher, do you favor teaching students that 1619 is more important than 1776? Do you favor that?

Weingarten: I favor us teaching about 1776, which I have often done, I favorr us teaching about 1619. I also favor us teaching about the Holocaust, and the genocide in terms of —

MacCallum: Absolutely. I I learned about all those all those things in school that you just mentioned, but probably didn’t. Do you think that it’s wrong to suggest to children that if they’re white, they belong to an oppressor class? If they’re black, they belong to a victim class. Do you have any problem with that?

Weingarten: I think we should be lifting up all ethnicities, I don’t think we should say that one is an oppressor class, and one is a non-oppressor class. I am a big believer in celebrating diversity in actually looking at and helping look at people’s lived experience. But if you’re really talking about misinformation now, Martha, and I hope you are, I really would hope that Fox would really look at what happened in this election and how we can because every social studies teacher is wrestling with this, discern fact from fiction, we have to do that as social studies teachers.

MacCallum: We have a president, President Biden, was elected in 2020. I think that all of that is quite clear. So I’m not sure why you are so concerned with with that part, with that particular moment in history, every election is significant. Nobody is hiding anything under any rocks here. The fact is that you have two people who who just made it onto the school board in Texas, right? They won by 40 points, because they said, “You know what, this stuff, parents, you better become aware of it. Because if you think that it’s just ‘Oh, the first ship came with slaves on it and 1619,’ you better dig in a little bit deeper, because there’s more to it than that.”

And then you watch Tim Scott, who stood up in front of the country and said America is not a racist nation. There are racism incidents, there is racism, we all recognize that. But if you raise children in this country believing that it’s a bad country that was founded in wanting to preserve slavery, which is simply not true, then we’ve got a problem in our school system. And apparently people noticed it in that district in Texas, and they voted in people that they think are going to make sure that that is clear to all the parents

Weingarten: Martha, I know you love having me on to tell me all these things.

MacCallum: I like discussing it with you. I mean, I respect you. And I like discussing this.

Weingarten: I love America, my grandparents came from the Ukraine, my grandfather was persecuted, almost killed on his way to the United States. I love America. And I am so grateful that I live in a nation that can actually see how to make itself better. And that’s what we try to do in education all the time. And so, look, I think we should be teaching about 1776, I think we should be teaching about all the civil rights laws, I think we should actually be doing more with civics and science in school. And I do think that we should actually be talking about when the slave trade started in a place we now call America, all of those.

MacCallum: I don’t think anybody has any problem with all the things that you just listed. Those things are absolutely not, not the issue that that we’re discussing. And I agree with you on all of those. And I want to thank you, because I do I think it’s a good debate. It’s a good discussion. And as I as you know, I come from a long line of very proud teachers, and I’m very proud of the teachers in my family. I think some of them would be a little disturbed by some of what they see happening.

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