Teaching Profession

NEA On Track to Endorse Obama

By Stephen Sawchuk — May 06, 2011 1 min read
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Despite its philosophical differences with such things as the Race to the Top, performance-based teacher compensation, and charter schools, the National Education Association plans to endorse Barack Obama for a second term in office.

The governing board of the union’s political action committee made the recommendation, which will head to the union’s Representative Assembly in July for approval. That said, an endorsement from NEA national doesn’t preclude state affiliates from making their own recommendations.

Michele McNeil wraps up things at Politics K-12, so you can link to all of our EdWeek coverage of the Obama-NEA relationship there, much of it first reported on this blog. More coverage from Politico.

It’s never really been in question that the NEA would throw its weight behind a Democrat given its historical support of the party—even though the union maintains that it’s a nonpartisan organization. No real challenger to Obama has emerged in the primary field, and the union has been waging war against mostly Republican lawmakers who have sought to curb or eliminate teachers’ unions’ bargaining rights.

It’s still possible, though probably unlikely, that the union’s 9,000-member RA will not go along with this endorsement. As a parallel, remember that the 1998 proposed merger with the American Federation of Teachers cleared the union’s upper echelons but was soundly defeated by rank-and-file delegates.

Compare this quick movement to the situation in 2008. NEA leaders then did not approve Obama until literally the last minute. The union’s preliminary endorsement of Obama came the exact same day Obama clinched the Democratic nod.

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