Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

AFT Delegates Back Obama Even If They’d Rather Vote for Clinton

August 26, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Hillary Rodham Clinton said she supports Barack Obama for president—and so do the American Federation of Teacher delegates elected to vote for her at the Democratic National Convention.

The senator from New York urged the thousands of cheering delegates—who started out holding “Hillary” signs, but then switched to signs that said “Obama” and “unity"—to unite behind a “single party with a single purpose.”

The stakes are high, and on the issue of education, Clinton’s rhetoric was simple: “We want to create a world-class education system and make college affordable again.”

The more than 20-minute speech gave her delegates a chance to show their enthusiasm and for Clinton, who lost an extended primary fight to the Illinois senator. But the division in the Democratic Party that many say exists is overplayed, said Donna Stempniak, a retired teacher who taught bilingual Spanish in Buffalo’s schools and is a New York delegate here.

“I have mixed feelings because I am such a Hillary supporter,” said Stempniak, a member of the AFT, which endorsed Clinton early on. “But we have to look at the big picture and get a Democrat in the White House. We have to stop McCain. New York is behind Obama now, and if we’re behind him, most everyone else is or should be.”

Ted Kirsch, the president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers, says that he switched his allegiances to Obama the day that Clinton suspended her campaign. “You win some; you lose some,” he said. “When it was over in June, I knew I was supporting Obama.”

Kirsch compared the primary fight to a lovers’ quarrel.

“Husbands and wives fight all the time,” he said. “People fight, and they make up.”

West Virginia delegate Shelby Leary said she’s “very disappointed” that Clinton won’t be the Democratic nominee for president—or vice president.

“Hillary got a lot of votes, more votes than any other woman,” said Leary, who worked in the West Virginia Federation of Teachers’ campaign on behalf of Clinton during that state’s primary. Clinton won the state handily.

“It bothered me really bad to hear some senators tell her to step down,” said the Blacksville, W.Va., retiree, who is a former state employee and a member of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. “If she was a man, they wouldn’t have done that.”

But Leary said would vote for Obama tomorrow and hopes to work for the AFT affiliate’s campaign staff in the fall.

“I’m a Democrat. We need a Democrat in the White House,” said Leary, a former member of the West Virginia legislature. “I will certainly work hard.”

--Michele McNeil & David J. Hoff

Related Tags:

Events

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.
Sponsor
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Be the Change: Strategies to Make Year-Round Hiring Happen
Learn how to leverage actionable insights to diversify your recruiting efforts and successfully deploy a year-round recruiting plan.
Content provided by Frontline
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.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Critical Ways Leaders Can Build a Culture of Belonging and Achievement
Explore innovative practices for using technology to build an environment of belonging and achievement for all staff and students.
Content provided by DreamBox Learning
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.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes with Teacher-Student Relationships
Explore strategies for strengthening teacher-student relationships and hear how districts are putting these methods into practice to support positive student outcomes.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Cardona Back-to-School Tour to Focus on Teacher Pipeline, Academic Recovery
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona will spend a week traveling to six states to highlight a range of K-12 priorities.
2 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona continues a tradition of on-site visits by the nation's top education official as the school year opens.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week
Federal Biden's Student Loan Forgiveness: How Much Will It Help Teachers?
Advocates say Black educators—who tend to carry heavier debt loads—won't benefit as much.
5 min read
Illustration of student loans.
alexsl/iStock/Getty
Federal Q&A U.S. Education Secretary Cardona: How to Fix Teacher Shortages, Create Safe Schools
In an exclusive interview with Education Week, the secretary looks ahead to the challenges of this school year.
10 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, August 23, 2022.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona answers questions during an interview in his office in Washington on Aug. 23.
Alyssa Schukar for Education Week
Federal Voters Want Republicans and Democrats to Talk About Learning Recovery, Not Culture Wars
A recent Democrats for Education Reform poll shows a disconnect between political candidates and voters on education issues.
4 min read
Image of voting and party lines.
TheaDesign/iStock/Getty