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Obama and the NEA

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We don't usually highlight non-educators on this page, but in his popular blog on Slate, political commentator Mickey Kaus has a quite pertintent post on the potential tensions between Barack Obama—now, by all accounts, the Democratic frontrunner—and the teachers' unions. Among other things, he quotes an observer as saying that, during a question-and-answer exchange at a fundraiser, Obama specifically identified the unions as an obstacle to charter schools—a movement he supports. During the campaign, Obama has also spoken positively (though not in great detail) about performance pay for teachers, and has suggested an openness towards vouchers.

Considering all that, here's an interesting sidenote: In a (completely unscientific) recent poll of visitors to teachermagazine.org, Obama was voted the preferred presidential candidate by a large margin.

What gives?

4 Comments

If teachers are for Obama,and he is for vouchers and charter schools, what does that say about teachers' unions? There is a message here.

The message is that people don't know where he stands. They like him because he talks about change and hope; apparently that's what people want to hear about.

I'm and NEA member and I support Obama. Is that a contracdiction? Not as I see it. I, like so many others in this country, want a change in the way we do things in Washington. He offers us hope that that change can occur. I'm no naive college kid either. This will be my tenth Presidential election . I've been around. I teach at an alternative High School.

What union slammers like David tend to forget (or ignore) is that there are 3.2 million members in the NEA and it is a democratic body. (Note the small "d". about 1/3 of our members are Republicans.) We elect our leaders from the local level on up and we elect delegates to conventions in each state and nationally to chart our path. There are bound to be differences of opinion but we don't believe that act like fools because of those differences. My union endorses candidates and takes positions and I often agree with these but they don't control my vote our how I use it. That's up to me.

Yes, I'd say it just indicates that *even for teachers* this elections is primarily about other issues. We are not single issue voters, nor would education always be that single issue even if we were.

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Recent Comments

  • ms. frizzle: Yes, I'd say it just indicates that *even for teachers* read more
  • B.D.: I'm and NEA member and I support Obama. Is that read more
  • IB a Math Teacher: The message is that people don't know where he stands. read more
  • David D. Douglas: If teachers are for Obama,and he is for vouchers and read more

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