California teachers union questioned for celebrating 'National Parents Day': 'Some nerve'

The CTA was accused of slow walking return to in-person instruction during COVID-19 pandemic

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Critics called the California Teachers Association hypocritical for recognizing National Parents Day on Twitter Sunday.

"Happy #NationalParentsDay!" the group tweeted. "A major factor in student success is an involved support system outside of school. When parents are involved in their children’s education, kids do better in school! #WeAreCTA."   

Parent groups did not believe the CTA's message was all that sincere, noting how throughout the COVID-19 pandemic teachers unions appeared to slow walk the return to in-person learning. In December 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D., indicated a return of elementary age students to the classroom by February. But the CTA said at the time that it believed campuses should not reopen until counties reached the state’s red tier of infections.

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"We appreciate the governor working with us and providing an incentive to reopen instead of mandating in-person education," California Federation of Teachers President Jeff Freitas said, noting that union support of in-person instruction depended on vaccine timelines. "Stakeholder input is required, and I think input is with a capital ‘I’ emphasizing that it’s more than just listening. There needs to be some type of sign off by all stakeholders."

Students walk to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic at Washington Elementary School Jan. 12, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif.

Students walk to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic at Washington Elementary School Jan. 12, 2022, in Lynwood, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Last year a group of parents started a petition to get rid of the CTA, arguing "the teachers unions have been holding us all hostage, refusing to teach our children." 

"We are not friends. Cut the crap!" the LA Parent Union, a Los Angeles based parent advocacy group, said in response to CTA's recognition of National Parents Day.  

"The California Teachers Association has some nerve in suddenly pretending to respect and care about what parents want after working tirelessly to keep kids locked out of schools for nearly two years," Erika Sanzi, Director of Outreach at Parents Defending Education, told Fox News Digital. "They also fought hard to keep children masked. Despite overwhelming parents demand for more educational options for their children, the union puts up roadblocks at every turn to ensure that low income families have zero options outside of their residentially assigned school. The brutal truth is that the unions do not want parents engaged in what's happening in schools at all unless it involves bake sales and potlucks."   

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Others accused the group of "gaslighting."

Corey DeAngelis, the national director of research at the American Federation for Children, thanked the CTA "for the accidental endorsement of school choice."

"This gaslighting is beyond parody," he told Fox News Digital. "The organization that has fought against parental rights in education for decades now wants us to believe they support parents? Get out of here with that noise. Parents aren't dumb. They are never going to forget how the teachers union held children's education hostage and put politics before the needs of families."

The Orange County Register editorial board published a piece in 2019 highlighting a report that showed CTA had spent millions to "stifle" school choice in the Golden State.   

"The California Teachers’ Association spent more than $1 million a month since April to influence lawmakers as it pushed bills aimed at cracking down on charter schools, according to a report this month in the Sacramento Bee. The union topped the list of the state’s biggest spenders on lobbying," they wrote

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference after receiving a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Also pictured are Assemblymember Mia Bonta, third from bottom right, Supervisor Wilma Chan and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, right.

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference after receiving a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. Also pictured are Assemblymember Mia Bonta, third from bottom right, Supervisor Wilma Chan and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, right. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

"Its money wasn’t directed toward improving the lot of public-school teachers, but toward crushing a bright spot in public education," the editors continued. "Charter schools are publicly funded, but their success has been an embarrassment to the union. They are exempt from many union-backed administrative rules and often hire teachers who are not members of unions. But they’ve been particularly successful in low-income communities where traditional public schools are failing."   

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Recently, Republican governors have been promoting school choice in their states. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, R., was accused by his Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke of trying to "defund" public schools with his school voucher plan, which would allow students to use government funding to attend private schools or charter schools rather than their assigned public schools. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, R., signed the most "monumental" education savings account program in the U.S. earlier this month.

The CTA has been accused of hypocrisy in recent memory. During Super Bowl season, a member of the California Teachers Association Board of Directors came under fire after being pictured at a Los Angeles Rams game without a mask, despite the union's support of school mask mandates.

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