NEA's Half-Hearted Obama Endorsement

Over the weekend the NEA gave Obama an early endorsement for president in 2012, but by all accounts it wasn't an easy or particularly sincere move on the part of the conventioneers.  They even passed an anti-Arne resolution at the same time.  The early endorsement was a pragmatic move, born of political realities.  Or at last that's how it seemed to me.  For links to the news coverage and a bit of analysis, click below.

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So the NEA endorsed Obama early after all (WSJEdWeek) -- if only after having given its strongest malcontents a Duncan-bashing resolution to chew on (HuffED,  The Answer SheetWashington Post).  The vote wasn't even close.  Speaking at the convention in Chicago, Biden called the debate over school reform 'a fight within the family' (HuffED).  Was anyone else creeped out by the invocation of family?  There were some substantive issues discussed: Union Shifts Position on Teacher Evaluations (NYT).  But for many inside the convention and elsewhere the feelings about Obama were decidely mixed.   As Slate's Dave Weigel described the mood at Aspen Ideas Festival the week before, "There's desperation where there used to be hope. No one here still believes Obama can engineer great change. He's what we've got; he's offering more than the Republicans. The most realistic ideas about what can be done politically are predicated on what Washington will be forced to do by crisis." Heading into the second half of 2011, it's increasingly clear that education has had its crisis and all we got out of it was massive job preservation and the flimsy Race To The Top.  Do we deserve any more? Image via.


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  • I have no more respect for the NEA than does the Obama Administration and—let’s be clear—they have no respect for the NEA.

    What possible advantage is there to NEA to make an endorsement 17 months before the election? It takes any pressure OFF the Administration to try and please teachers next year. Once more, Democrats will take this support for granted just as surely as they will take the unions’ money.

    Further, it’s fuel to the fire of those who say the teacher unions are in the pocket of the Democratic Party. Not only will the Democrats ignore teachers, but Republicans will also ignore them. The irony is that in spite of the political power the NEA thinks it has, it really has none. It will move no candidate to do its bidding.

    On a more practical level, Obama loses support every month. The economy shows no signs of taking off before the election, and Obama’s chances of winning re-election dwindle. The NEA is now tethered to a sinking ship. Just how many of those "3.2 million members" will desert?

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