Critics slammed Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, for appearing in a photo with the American Federation of Teachers union president Randi Weingarten on Saturday.
Ryan is running against Republican J.D. Vance for Senate Ohio and Weingarten posted with Ryan after appearing with the Ohio Democrats’ Family Reunion event to talk about education.
“While they attack our institutions and smear us and the work we do, the people in this room are rolling up our sleeves to help people. And the way we help people isn’t through hate, division, or political attacks – it’s by leaning in on solutions,” Weingarten told the crowd at the event on Saturday.
Ryan told the crowd that the Democrats were “absolutely going to win this race.” Ryan has insisted that President Biden should not run for re-election in 2024.
Weingarten said it was “great to see” Ryan in Ohio on Saturday. Critics pointed to Weingarten’s position as president of the second-largest teachers union in the U.S. and efforts by teachers unions across the country to keep schools closed during the pandemic.
Vance responded to the photo and said that Ohio’s children “deserved better.”
“Earlier this year—two years into COVID—these people pushed for schools to go remote in Ohio. This is who Tim Ryan answers to. Ohio’s children deserve better,” he wrote on Twitter.
Some conservatives responded to Weingarten’s tweet with headlines describing teachers unions “pushing” for remote learning during the pandemic.
Weingarten wrote a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal recently after The National Assessment of Educational Progress published a report detailing the decline in test scores among younger students. The Wall Street Journal editorial board published a piece headlined “Randi Weingarten Flunks the Pandemic” shortly after the report was released.
“No teacher I know enjoyed remote and hybrid learning—which, pre-pandemic, was championed by Betsy DeVos. Not one teacher relished teaching art class via Zoom to 40 pupils, 20 of them in a classroom and 20 at home,” Weingarten wrote, rebuking the WSJ.
The American Federation for Children’s Corey DeAngelis responded to Weingarten’s tweet with a screenshot of a New York Post editorial which was headlined “Randi Weingarten’s attempts to rewrite school-closings history won’t fly.”
DeAngelis wrote in another tweet that the photo should count as an “in-kind contribution” to Vance.
Karol Markowicz also reacted to the photo and wrote “anyone standing next to” Weingarten is a “hard pass.”
Weingarten said earlier this month that politicians were turning teachers into “social justice warriors” during a town hall meeting with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
“Very few teachers thought that they were going into teaching to be social justice warriors,” Weingarten said. “That has been what has created some of the burnout. And that’s not parents. That’s politicians. Parents just want the best for their kids. And so do the teachers.”