Obama Ideas Better Received at AFT

By Vaishali Honawar — July 13, 2008 1 min read

There were no boos this time. In fact, there even was fairly strong applause.

When Barack Obama spoke this morning via live satellite feed from California to 3,000 AFT delegates who have congregated in his hometown of Chicago, he appeared to have a good sense that this was a crowd more open than that at the NEA to his ideas on performance pay and charter schools.

“I applaud AFT for your leadership in representing charter school teachers and support staff all across this country, and for even operating your own charters in New York,” he said. “Because we know well-designed charter schools have a lot to offer.”

When he spoke about performance pay, in almost exactly the same words as those he used at the NEA, he also reminded the AFT delegates that with their own such plans in Cincinnati and Chicago, “you’ve shown that it is possible to find new ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them.”

Just minutes before, the delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse Obama for president (only one woman yelled “no” within my hearing). But although the applause was strong and enthusiastic, there were no noisemakers here, nor a flood of Obama T-shirts, like there were at the NEA. Not uncharacteristic of the AFT delegation crowd that just seems to be more subdued than the one at the NEA, not to mention smaller.

In fact, one delegate from a merged NEA-AFT local who had attended the larger union’s convention in Washington last week showed up wearing an “NEA for Obama” T-shirt.

Meanwhile, speculation continued among the delegates as to why the senator chose not to appear in person. One source speculated that he wanted to be fair and treat the AFT the same way as he did the NEA. But other delegates said it is likely he still feels betrayed: After all, he was not the AFT’s first choice for president.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NEA & AFT: Live From the Conventions blog.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read