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Ohio Teachers Want Answers from Obama


Inquiring minds in Ohio want to know: Is Obama open to vouchers, or isn't he?

That's the gist of this letter Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader the Ohio Federation of Teachers sent to Sen. Barack Obama's campaign this week after the Illinois Democrat recently told newspaper reporters in Milwaukee that he might reconsider his opposition to vouchers if there's research to back it up, and if vouchers are what's best for kids.

The letter, signed by the OFT and the local unions representing teachers in Cleveland, Toledo, and Cincinnati, points out that Sen. Obama didn't seem nearly as open to vouchers in his responses to an earlier survey by its parent union, the American Federation of Teachers. So the teachers want to know where he really stands. (The union hasn't gotten an answer yet.)

Obama's campaign has tried to calm the flames, sending this statement Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to Education Week that maintains he is, and always will be, against vouchers.

Obama has already lost the AFT's endorsement to his rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Still, it's worth emphasizing that these are Ohio teachers wanting answers. And, the Ohio union says many of the members are in fact, undecided. And many of them will be voting in the pivotal March 4 primary that could further determine the fate of the two candidates.


Vouchers are the easy way out. Instead of fixing public schools, vouchers continue the slow and steady flight from public schools. In some neighborhoods they exacerbate "white flight." In others, they signal the abandonment of neighborhood public -- leaving them to the children of "people who don't count" -- by and large minority students. Sooner or later, the realization must come that there is not room enough in every private or parochial school for kids from inner-city schools. School vouchers have allowed school administrators, teachers and parents, politicians in Washington and locally, to avoid addressing the real problem. We can whine about NCLB, but vouchers aren't the solution. Making "real" education a priority -- and making the steep financial investments required -- is what will revive American schools. As a parent, I agree with Barack Obama's approach to fixing our schools and improving American education.

Dear Fellow Union Members in Ohio and AFT Teachers and Members-
Obama is double-talking or andering on vouchers -I am not sure which is worse.

But I will tell you that he is for merit pay because our state AFT President asked him one on one and she told him that we were opposed to merit pay to which he said "We will have to agree to disagree." Senator Clinton has been devoted to public education, teachers and kids all of her life---please don't be fooled! I know teachers share the same work ethics as Hillary and the same compassion for kids. It is a winning combination to have our friend and ally Hillary as our next President---she gets it!!!!!

Your post on the phony Obama/voucher dust-up is right out of Karl Rove's playbook.

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