Randi Weingarten slams social media for trip to Ukraine as US schools struggle

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten has come under fire from some on social media for taking a trip to Ukraine when many American schools were floundering.

“Woke up this morning to reports of disgusting Russian missile strikes in Kyiv, Lviv and other cities,” Weingarten tweeted Monday morning. “On our way to the border now to assess the situation. This Russian attempt to scare civilians and the effect on children (who are learning online today) is why this [Ukraine flag emoji] the journey is so important.”

Weingarten joins pediatrician and public health activist Dr. Irwin Redlener, Karen Redlener and Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum in Ukraine this week to meet with Ukrainian students and teachers displaced by war. The group went “to offer solidarity and support in the face of the relentless attacks that have forced hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee the east of the country”, according to a Press release of the AFT.

“AFT was invited by the Ukrainian teachers’ union, the Union of Education and Science Workers, to testify and draw attention to the effects on children, families and educators and on the impact of Russia’s attacks on democracy and democratic institutions,” the press said. press release explained.

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American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten traveled to Ukraine to offer solidarity and support to refugees.
(Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Some on Twitter have questioned the optics of Weingarten going overseas as so many students in the United States continue to struggle in the wake of pandemic school closures.

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“Why is the president of the American Federation of Teachers in Ukraine while our children’s schools are failing? asked Post Millennial editor Libby Emmons.

“What can you even do at the Ukr/Rus border, Randi? Shouldn’t you be busy trying to criminalize parents who want school choice?” wrote journalist Ian Miles Cheong, who also recalled an apparently since-deleted tweet showing Weingarten holding an upside-down Ukrainian flag.

“Now I’m so sad PJ O’Rourke isn’t here to join this journey,” National Review editor Dan McLaughlin tweeted.

Former Congress candidate Shukri Abdirahman tweeted: “What’s the business of the boss of the teachers’ union heading to the Russian-Ukrainian border? And since when does someone in her role have the job description to ‘assess’ active war zones? Unreal.”

“‘To assess the situation,'” tweeted journalist Charles CW Cooke. “Uh, why?”

“America’s students need you on the front lines K-12,” journalist Caroline Downey tweeted at Weingarten. “Here is a crisis you should feel compelled to address: math and literacy skills have plummeted this year due to the school closures you have supported. ‘other issues above education.’

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“Why is the leader of a teachers’ union trying to assess the situation? And what the hell is she doing in Ukraine?” asked prominent Twitter user Comfortably Smug. “Lmao, is that why teachers pay union dues? Randi to vacation in a war zone?”

“As Putin tries to blow a torch to democracy, we stand in solidarity with educators, students and families in Ukraine,” Weingarten said. “They are fighting against Russian aggression to defend their democracy, their freedom and their self-determination – and after nearly eight months of conflict, their just resistance is growing stronger every day.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaking in Washington, DC on October 21, 2021.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, speaking in Washington, DC on October 21, 2021.
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MomsRising Together)

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“The effect of war on children and families has been brutal, and the persistence, compassion and bravery of Ukrainian teachers in helping students continue their learning in an active war zone should be encouraged and defended.”

The AFT did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the criticism.

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