Teacher Union Leaders Garner Backlash for Ukraine Flag Mistake

by Michael Freeman
(Photo credit should read Serhii Hudak/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began, organizations from every sector have been voicing their support. Beer brewers, oil companies, and banks are but a few areas cutting Russia off from their services. The teachers union here is one of them and recently posted pictures with their leaders showing they stand with Ukraine. However, some recent photos have a glaring mistake with the Ukraine flag, leading to a massive backlash.

What we Learned

  • Teachers union leaders face massive backlash due to a photo with an upside down Ukraine flag.
  • Critics believe the support only exists to advertise school choice.
  • Public figures are calling them out on it on social media channels.
  • Chicago public schools returned to classrooms early this year.

The issue came when two teachers union leaders posted a photo on Twitter yesterday. The duo expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemned Russia invading, but made a huge mistake. In the photo, you can see the Ukrainian flag is upside down. The tweet in question is featured below and many critics are saying the social media post is actually serving as an advertisement for school choice.

“AFT President [Randi Weingarten] and [AFT Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus] stand with #Ukraine,” the post reads.

Fox News provided additional details about the issue, saying teachers unions faced heavy criticism after many supported closing schools during the pandemic. Further, the unions also pushed back against reopening, though many eventually relented. The news outlet also notes teachers raised concerns about certain activism being present in classrooms, such as critical race theory and transgender identity.

In short, critics believe the support exists only to further their own agenda regarding school choice. Corey DeAngelis, national director of research at School Choice Now, called them out on Twitter, simply saying “free advertising for school choice.” Senator Ted Cruz did something similar, tweeting “They actually printed this sign… with the flag upside down!”

Chicago Public Schools Return to Classrooms After Teachers Union Makes a Deal

As stated, the accusation the teachers union posted their support for Ukraine comes from critics believing it was actually advertising school choice. Since the pandemic began, many schools wished to close and stay closed, even today. However, most have returned to classrooms, including Chicago, which fought the decision until the teachers union recently struck a deal.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the news in early January this year, stating on Twitter Chicago Public Schools (CPS) reached an understanding with the teacher union. This comes after the teacher union rejected a city order to return just a week prior.

“After a productive day at the bargaining table, I am pleased to report, CTU will end their work stoppage. CPS put a great proposal on the table that both bargaining teams discussed in detail today. We will be able to get our children back in the classroom on Wednesday,” the tweet reads.