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Michael Bloomberg: Pres. Biden needs to ‘stand up’ to teachers unions

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Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday called on President Joe Biden to “stand up” to teachers unions, as states and cities across the country try to move toward reopening schools while many teachers refuse to teach in person until they start receiving vaccines in large numbers.

“It’s time for Joe Biden to stand up and to say, the kids are the most important things, important players here,” Bloomberg said in a Wednesday interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle. “And the teachers just are going to have to suck it up and stand up and provide an education.”

“What we’re doing to poor kids is a disgrace,” the billionaire philanthropist also said. “These poor kids are not in school, they will never recover from this—and they had a bad education experience anyways. We have not had good schools for poor kids and this now is just so much worse.”

“Teachers say, ‘Well, I don’t want to go back because it’s dangerous,’” he added. “We have a lot of city and state and federal employees who run risks, that’s part of the job. You run risks to help America, to help your state, to help your city, to help your family and there’s just no reason not to have the schools open.”

Further, the former 2020 Democratic candidate for president blasted virtual schooling, calling it “a joke—worse than a joke.”

“Poor people don’t have iPads, they don’t have WiFi, they don’t have somebody at home to sit during the day and force the child to pay attention and without that, the virtual learning just does not exist,” he said.

“The president has to stand up to the unions,” Bloomberg added.

On Wednesday the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told reporters that there “is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated.”

RELATED: CDC Director: Vaccinating teachers ‘not a prerequisite’ for safely reopening schools

Last week, Bloomberg wrote an opinion piece for Bloomberg Opinion citing CDC data that found a scant spread of COVID-19 within schools and said that data “should send a clear message to governors, mayors and teachers union leaders: It’s time to open the schools.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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