The floor of a political convention is a place unlike any other. I decided to offer Campaign K-12 readers a view of the floor during the speeches by the presidents of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.
For the speech by NEA’s Reg Weaver, I stood near the Alabama delegation. I chose that spot because NEA’s Alabama chapter sent more delegates here than any other state affiliate. While NEA may have a lot of power in the Alabama Democratic Party, the Alabama Democratic Party doesn’t have much power with its national party. Because Alabama is about as red as possible in the Electoral College, it’s delegation sits way in the corner. In the video, you’ll also see that Alabama delegates got a better view of Weaver by watching the big screens than by looking at the podium.
Reg Weaver, NEA President:
I didn’t see many delegates sitting in the Alabama section. I hear many of them were down in front, under the podium. But you’ll notice Jane Battle, a retired 6th grade teacher from Huntsville, Ala., holding up a NEA T-shirt, while her husband videotapes the moment. You also may hear some of NEA’s thundersticks banging in the background.
Randi Weingarten, AFT President:
For contrast, I stood down near the stage for the speech by AFT’s Weingarten. I stood between the Illinois and Delaware delegations. (I don’t think Delaware would have gotten such prime space if Barack Obama had chosen a different running mate.) Don’t miss the teleprompter with Weingarten’s time ticking down. Once the three minutes allotted to her ended, the clock started counting up. She went over by 64 seconds.
--David J. Hoff