Powerful teachers union joins forces with group targeting CRT opponents, Republican education initiatives

One of the nation’s most influential teachers unions joined forces with a left-wing dark money group initially formed to push back against opponents of critical race theory in K-12 schools. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the second-largest teachers union, and Campaign for Our Shared Future, a so-called “nonpartisan” group founded to combat a wave of “culture wars attacks” on communities, children, and the K-12 system, partnered on an initiative to provide aid to educators they say are under attack from Republicans across the country. “Attacks on public education in America by extremists and culture-war peddling politicians have reached new heights (‘lows’ may be more apt), but they are not new,” AFT President Randi Weingarten recently wrote on the union’s website. “The difference today is that the attacks are intended not just to undermine public education but to destroy it.” “From book bans and censorship of honest history to the removal and rejection of Black, LGBTQIA+ and minority students’ existence and experiences, MAGA lawmakers have used culture wars to divide communities and enact schemes that drain resources from public education,” Weingarten said. TEACHERS UNIONS INFLUENCED LAST-MINUTE CDC SCHOOL GUIDANCE, RECEIVED COPIES BEFORE PUBLIC RELEASE, EMAILS SHOW AFT’s shift to combat Republican education agendas included launching the Freedom to Teach and Learn hotline with Campaign for Our Shared Future. The groups established the hotline “for parents, educators and the public to report instances of political interference and censorship,” Weingarten wrote. The Campaign for Our Shared Future recently announced the formation of the Educator Defense Fund to provide services ranging from legal support to threat evaluations. A spokesperson for the group told Fox News Digital the fund is separate from the hotline, which AFT runs. “Schools have become a flashpoint for politicians looking to advance their agendas, and they are using scare tactics to target teachers and school staff who are focused on preparing our students for the future,” Campaign for Our Shared Future said of its Educator Defense Fund in March. “These dangerous antics show radical politicians are willing to use anything to win office, including jeopardizing the safety of educators and students,” the group added. “COSF is uniquely positioned to connect education professionals with rapid support in response to deeply concerning developments in the field. The Educator Defense Fund will offer our educators a helping hand to oppose these attacks.” Despite its nonpartisanship claims, Campaign for Our Shared Future is part of a massive liberal dark money network. Its 501(c)(3) educational arm is fiscally sponsored by the New Venture Fund. Campaign for Our Shared Future Action Fund, its 501(c)(4) advocacy arm, falls under the Sixteen Thirty Fund.  VIRGINIA SCHOOL DISTRICT TO LET STUDENTS CARRY NARCAN TO REVERSE DRUG OVERDOSES The New Venture Fund and Sixteen Thirty Fund are nonprofit incubators providing their tax and legal status to dozens of left-wing nonprofits. The groups they fiscally sponsor are exempt from providing tax documents to the IRS, further shielding information such as their finances from the public The funds are also part of a more extensive liberal dark money network, which includes other nonprofit fiscal sponsors such as the Windward Fund, Hopewell Fund, and North Fund. The network pulled in $1.5 billion in cash from anonymous Democratic donors in 2021. Campaign for Our Shared Future launched last summer following conservative parents bombarding school board meetings in multiple states over what they said is their local schools teaching critical race theory to children, which liberals have maintained is not the case. In one of its online job postings, the group stated that it is working on mobilizing and building coalitions to push back against “anti-CRT” efforts in numerous states. “The Campaign is based on the belief that to win the debate we have to shift the debate, and do so in ways that bring unlikely allies to the table,” the job posting said. “We have brought together a seasoned leadership team from across the ideological spectrum to mobilize and/or build the grasstops and grassroots networks in key states that are best-positioned to stem the tide of damaging ‘anti-CRT’ actions.” Activists from left-leaning organizations lead the campaign. Heather Harding, a former senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the group’s executive director. PRESIDENT OF LARGEST TEACHER UNION DECLARES RACIAL, SOCIAL JUSTICE A ‘PILLAR’ OF EDUCATORS’ EFFORTS  Eliza Byard, its senior adviser, previously served as executive director of the LGBTQ+ group GLSEN, which works to ensure “every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression,” the campaign’s website states.  Byard’s LinkedIn profile contains a picture of protesters holding “protect trans youth” signs. Fox News Digital first reported on Campaign for Our Shared Future shortly after they appeared in Washington, D.C., business records last June. At the time, the group’s communications and research director said they were still relatively new and had nothing to add besides their mission statement and information on their website. “Every child deserves an inclusive, meaningful education that supports their health, learning, and success in life,” the spokesperson said at the time. “An excellent K-12 education, inclusive of and accessible to all, is the foundation of a healthy multi-racial democracy. The Campaign for Our Shared Future fights for equitable, anti-racist programs, practices, and policies that sustain schools and ensure opportunity for every child and a brighter future for us all.” “Our vision is a society that guarantees an accessible, inclusive, high-quality education as the right of every child and the foundation of a healthy multi-racial democracy,” the spokesperson added AFT did not respond to Fox News Digital inquiries on the partnership.
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