Teaching Profession

Biden, Ravitch, and Solidarity: Sunday at the AFT Convention

By Stephen Sawchuk — July 29, 2012 1 min read

A few tidbits for you on the penultimate day of the AFT convention.

• The union passed, unanimously, a special resolution pledging solidarity for AFT affiliates that it asserts have been attacked, beseiged, or had their contracts superceded, as in Detroit, Chicago, and Douglas County, Colo.

• Vice President Joe Biden spoke to the delegates today. His remarks were substantially similar to the those he gave a few weeks earlier to the National Education Association (right down to the opening joke), so I’ll refer you to my write-up from there. The vice president largely praised teachers and made the case for why he and President Obama should earn delegates’ votes. A couple dozen of protesters tried to interrupt the speech, but were quickly ushered out.

• Education advocate Diane Ravitch electrified delegates yesterday with a speech condemning value-added models, charter schools, and policy proposals from online learning to school closures—more or less all the big topics of her best-selling book. The thing to note here is that Ravitch is arguably even more critical of some of those initiatives than the AFT has been in public. A resolution critical of charter schools, for instance, was not a top priority for the union’s educational-issues committee and was not put to delegates. (There’s a long shot it could make it to the floor tomorrow.)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.