Teaching Profession

NEA Panel Recommends Clinton Endorsement; Union’s Board of Directors Is Next

By Stephen Sawchuk — October 01, 2015 1 min read
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The National Education Association moved a step closer to endorsing Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, with its PAC council voting to recommend the former senator and U.S. Secretary of State.

The move could add fuel to Clinton’s campaign to secure the White House—and would come at a time when interest is surging in Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and in a possible run by Vice President Joe Biden.

The endorsement is not a done deal until the union’s Board of Directors takes up the matter, which could occur either Oct. 1 or 2. But if approved, it’s a sign that the 3 million-member union wants to act while its endorsement carries weight and not repeat 2008, when it rather embarrassingly didn’t back anyone until after Barack Obama had already clinched the nomination.

The PAC Council is made up of the union’s state affiliate presidents, plus representatives from internal interest groups. Clinton has a lot of support within the union, although there have been signs of disagreement about this move in certain quarters. Both the New Jersey Education Association and Massachusetts Teachers Association said they would not support an NEA primary endorsement at this time, and some teachers and rank-and-file members unhappy about the endorsement have taken to Twitter using the hashtag #NoEarlyEndorsement.

The larger labor movement has been split over Clinton. While she is seen as more electable than Sanders, his progressive credentials are more in-line with many unions’ principles.

Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a community forum on health care last week at Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa.—Charlie Neibergall/AP

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