A California teachers union commissioned opposition studies on families shortly after they sued the state to allow their children to return to in-person education.
Parent Association open records requests revealed emails from April 2021 in which Ann Swinburn, a key research expert at the California Teachers Association, asked lockdown activists for details about “various reopen’ movements around the state.”
Swinburn has shown particular enthusiasm for the Parent Association, which has the motto “Parents are the best advocates for students” and campaigned hard for the resumption of schools during the state’s Covid-19 panic.
Reopen California Schools reports that teachers’ unions filed a lawsuit against the San Dieguito Union High School District to keep schools closed for another year and a half after the pandemic began, but that parents from North County “successfully sued” to get their children back in class by the following spring.
🚨 BOMBSHELL 🚨
Newly PRA’d emails show @WeAreCTA conducted opposition research on school reopening parent groups during the school shutdowns in CA.
Then after a principal was accidentally CC’d, the “damage control” was asking him to illegally delete the email.
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) September 5, 2022
Multiple individuals contacted Swinburn with interest in “uncovering some of the ideological leaning of groups that are funding the reopen lawsuits.”
At some time, activists in the email conversation unintentionally included a member of the district’s administrators in their communication. The email thread swiftly degenerated into a talk about “damage control” and if the administrator would illegally delete any proof that parents were being singled out for wanting their kids to attend school in person.
Activists approached by Swinburn are well-known for collaborating with the California Public Department of Health to pander to teacher’s unions’ desires to keep children at home, according to Allison Stratton, co-founder of the Parent Association, head of the San Dieguito Union High School District, and one of the guardians who signed onto a relaunching lawsuit.
“The unions don’t want to see parents mobilizing against them,” Stratton added. “They have the groups they are used to working with, like the union shills. In fact, I believe it’s straight out of their playbook that they tell their local unions to find like-minded parents to do a lot of their work for them. They call them out of the PTAs, usually.”
Stratton claims that the pawns of the California Teachers Association have continued to push the unions’ agenda in schools, even though it has been over a year after Swinburn’s correspondence with activists.
As Stratton put it, “their game is to drive independent trustees off the board,” with the coordinated attempt to recall Michael Allman over allegations of transphobia serving as an example.
However, tweets from the researcher’s past that are now protected by Swinburn’s private account reveal his disdain for parents who seek a voice in their children’s education. Her statements indicate that she thinks parent-led movements are “an effort orchestrated by seasoned right-wing political operatives.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Lance Christensen blasted the California Teachers Association for their actions and lack of openness.
Christensen stated that the California Teachers Association was more of a spying agency than a supporter of children and their families.
There are unions other than the California Teachers Association that target parents who speak up. Parents who support reopening schools and have spoken to the media have said that CFT, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers led by Randi Weingarten, and United Teachers Los Angeles, its sister organization, has weaponized research against them.
The National School Boards Association and the Biden administration worked together to muzzle parents who wanted a say in their children’s education, and the government has confirmed this.