Candidates Can Relate to Teachers
Addressing the National Education Association’s convention in Philadelphia last year, eight presidential hopefuls took turns trying to one-up each other on their street credibility with classroom teachers. The seven Democrats and one Republican promised the 9,000 delegates to the union’s Representative Assembly to consult teachers when developing education policy.
“I understand my friend the governor of New Mexico was here the other day, and he said he would appoint a teacher to be the secretary of education,” Sen. Joe Biden said, referring to Bill Richardson, a then-rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. “That’s a great idea, but I have one better. How about a teacher living in the White House, sleeping with the president?”
Nearly 16 months later, of course, Sen. Barack Obama’s pick as his running mate on the Democratic ticket is Sen. Biden, whose wife, Jill Biden, is a former high school English teacher and current community college instructor. For the more staid general-election season, the Delaware Democrat has retired the risqué line, but the 2007 quip nevertheless highlights of one of the intangibles playing into this election: Just how much does the “teacher factor” influence a...
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