In deciding whether we’re following the science, maybe we should follow the money. Most people expect that during the course of negotiation, legislation that comes out of Congress will be a compromise between multiple views in order to gain consensus politically. Those same people also expect that, when a scientific organization or a medical entity tells us something, it is based purely upon empirical information, evaluated independently, and properly and accurately reported.
But, recently, we have learned that is not the case with regard to the CDC guidelines on school openings. For months, parents have been frustrated and angry, and inquiring about why schools have not opened. Despite the Director of the CDC saying, in February, that schools could open safely, the CDC guidelines, issued later, do not support that. Sadly, through a recent Freedom of Information Act request, we have learned the harsh reality - that our medical recommendations have been influenced by politics. The CDC shared a draft of the proposed recommendations with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a teachers’ union, and language was adopted that exactly followed the language advocated in a request from AFT. That language put additional obstacles in the path of opening our schools.
The reason I say follow the money is the AFT gave incredible amounts of money to Democratic candidates for the US House and Senate and the President in his election effort. And I do mean incredible. According to the data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, AFT donated more than $5 million to the Democrat Senate Majority PAC and more than $4 million to the Democrat House Majority PAC. In all, AFT and its affiliates donated nearly $20 million to Democrats in the 2020 election cycle.
What we don’t yet know is what the report said before it was changed, and what other changes were made to the report at the request of other political advocacy groups. The White House contends that the AFT is one of many entities consulted by the CDC. Show us the original draft report. Show us the other submitted changes. Let us compare those documents to the final report. Only when we know fully what the medical community has compromised, what changes the medical community has made in response to those with political agendas, can we have confidence in their recommendations.
At a time when the government is recommending a particular course of treatment, that is the vaccine, and making recommendations regarding other lifestyle accommodations to this pandemic, we need to have confidence that the recommendations are based on sound science and good medicine and not a political agenda.
Chair Delaware State Republican Party