Black Lives Matter Union Boss Dismisses Children Failing to Learn ‘Times Tables’

Photo by: STRF/STAR MAX/IPx 2021 8/5/21 As Delta variant spreads, children get ready to return to school. STAR MAX Photo: 8/5/21 Students at the Simon Baruch School in Manhattan.
STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) President Cecily Myart-Cruz told Los Angeles Magazine (LAmag) children did not experience “learning loss” during the pandemic school closures, because they learned the words “insurrection” and “coup.”

In an interview published Thursday, Jason McGahan wrote the controversial Myart-Cruz began her discussion by “issuing a series of incendiary statements that almost seem aerodynamically designed to grab headlines and infuriate critics.”

“Like this one,” he continued:

“There is no such thing as learning loss,” she responds when asked how her insistence on keeping L.A.’s schools mostly locked down over the last year and a half may have impacted the city’s 600,000 kindergarten through 12th-grade students. “Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a riot and a protest. They know the words insurrection and coup.” She even went so far as to suggest darkly that “learning loss” is a fake crisis marketed by shadowy purveyors of clinical and classroom assessments.

Under Myart-Cruz, LAmag reported, teachers’ salaries and working conditions are no longer the sole focus of UTLA.

Since she assumed her post in 2020, “that purview has been expanded to include a breathtaking range of far-flung progressive issues: racial justice, Medicare for all, the millionaire tax, financial support for undocumented families, rental and eviction relief—over the last 15 months, UTLA has championed them all.”

Additionally, in June, UTLA announced its members will vote in September on a declaration to call for an end of the United States government’s aid to Israel.

Myart-Cruz sent a House Rules Committee motion form to members that stated:

I move that UTLA denounce the recent bombings in The West Bank and Gaza by the Israeli resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilian people, mostly women and children. The high intensity aerial warfare is unjust and inhumane. Palestinians have the right to self-determination free of violence and occupation. UN Resolution 194 asserts their right of return to their homes, unjustly seized by the Israeli government Israel must stop evictions of Palestinians currently taking place in East Jerusalem and end its 55-year old military occupation of The West Bank and Gaza strip.

Our tax dollars should go to public schools and healthcare not incessant warfare against an indigenous people in the Middle East. UTLA should unite with and stand up for workers everywhere, especially the most oppressed of them, especially as the Palestinian Federation of Trade Union of Gaza urges solidarity. The World Federation of Trade Unions has also denounced the attacks against Palestinians. It is time we do, too.

In July 2020, UTLA also called for Los Angeles to defund police in order to free up funds to reopen schools safely.

In addition to serving as UTLA president, Myart-Cruz is the chair of the California Teachers Association Civil Rights Committee, chair of the National Education Association Black Caucus, and a member of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.

Myart-Cruz’s most famous battle, perhaps, has been with Gov. Gavin Newson (D-CA) over the reopening of schools in Los Angeles.

As LAmag reported:

In early March, when Newsom tried to coax teachers back into classrooms by dangling $2 billion worth of incentives for schools that reopened before April 1, Myart-Cruz dismissed his proposal as a boondoggle for wealthy neighborhoods and “a recipe for propagating structural racism.” As much of the rest of the state started bringing teachers and students back to campus full time, Myart-Cruz dug in, waiting until late April to only partly reopen for hybrid, part-time learning. When parents complained, pointing to the low incidence of COVID cases in schools that had fully reopened, Myart-Cruz dismissed their concerns as the product of their unexamined privilege.

“Education is political,” she told LAmag. “People don’t want to say that, but it is.”

A petition created by LAUSD parents at change.org calls for Myart-Cruz’s “immediate resignation”:

Ms. Myart-Cruz continuously uses bullying tactics to further her agenda of control over LAUSD. She has launched a campaign to misrepresent and disenfranchise 1,000’s of LAUSD families from ALL communities.

These campaigns have included racist and disparaging remarks, including calling out “white and Middle Eastern families” in one of her Facebook posts.

The parents also addressed Myart-Cruz’s claim that reopening schools is “racist” and her reported cancellation of views that oppose her own on the union’s social media platforms:

Ms. Myart-Cruz has also taken it upon herself to speak for the entire Black & Brown parent body when she claims they are not ready to return. Many parents from these communities have said differently. But ANYONE who speaks out against her and UTLA’s position is immediately blocked from the union’s social platforms and their comments are removed. All parent voices deserve to be heard and all parents have the right to speak for themselves!

“Ms. Myart-Cruz and UTLA refuse to commit to an agreement that will ensure schools reopen once all teachers have been vaccinated,” the parents asserted. “Instead, UTLA continues to move the goalposts, in an attempt to bargain for demands that were not met in their last strike.”

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