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View Diary: NEA moves to endorse Obama, and I react (219 comments)

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  •  The NEA is not an arm of the Democratic Party, (11+ / 0-)

    nor should it be.  It should support those politicians who support public schools and professional educators - regrettably, President Obama has not turned out to be one of those - and should never allow its support to be taken for granted.  The NEA is one of the largest labor organizations in the country, with members in literally every political subdivision - there's absolutely no reason to hand away the kind of negotiating power that can bring, especially when the only basis is he's a smidgen better than the worst thing imaginable.

    "Upper-middle-class?"  This is from the New York Times, 2 weeks ago:

    At the moment, the average teacher’s pay is on par with that of a toll taker or bartender. Teachers make 14 percent less than professionals in other occupations that require similar levels of education. In real terms, teachers’ salaries have declined for 30 years. The average starting salary is $39,000; the average ending salary — after 25 years in the profession — is $67,000. This prices teachers out of home ownership in 32 metropolitan areas, and makes raising a family on one salary near impossible.

    The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

    ...and charter schools only exacerbate the problem, by siphoning money away from neighborhood schools and handing it to corporate-run, non-unionized diploma mills.

    You're absolutely right in saying that the interests of teachers and Education Support Professionals in different parts of the country will diverge - that's why we don't have a National Teacher Contract, and why we bargain at the local level.  And as for maintaining party unity...well, let's just say that support is a two-way street.  

    I'll work hard to support him that supports my profession, but there's been woefully little of that coming from the Obama White House, and I've got a sneaking suspicion that teachers are really going to see the underside of the bus once he's re-elected - unless we make our voices heard when it matters.  Even if that risks being laughed at.

    •  Yes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou

      ...the NEA is not an arm of the Democratic party. They don't represent poor people, middle-class people, uneducated people, homeless people, unemployed people, or people without health insurance. Democrats do that.

      The NEA represents teachers. And they correctly realize that their best political strategy is early unconditional support of the President.

      Lastly, teachers are, by any definition "upper middle class". There is nothing wrong with that. The average teacher's salary is about $47k.  This places them in the top 30% of earners in the US. I agree with many on this site who say that teachers should be paid even more -- but that is a different discussion.

      The linked NY Times Opinion piece confuses starting salaries with actual salaries and does not include benefits. It is a common bit of demagoguery...so common that it is no longer unexpected...but still pretty tiresome.

      •  know what's also tiresome? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, David Kaib, Unitary Moonbat

        " And they correctly realize that their best political strategy is early unconditional support of the President."

        All our base belong to Obama.  Why even hold an election?  

        I have predicted, for a long time, that all that's left for these people is to start playing in their own feces. But even I never predicted they'd freeze it and use it as a dildo.

        by Nada Lemming on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:31:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  As long as we're trading advice on demagoguery, (0+ / 0-)

        I might point out that the 2005 USA Today article you linked doesn't exactly help prove the case that teachers are members of the upper middle class - most of the article is devoted to illustrating the decline in real wages for teachers, especially once inflation was factored in.  Likewise, 47k per year might indeed put teachers in (as your Wikipedia link indicates) the "top 30% of earners," but the distinction doesn't mean much when one considers just how hard it is to raise a family on that kind of a paycheck.  That sort of argument - "shut up and be thankful that you don't have it any worse" - is one that's frequently used on teachers (right after "if you don't submit to x, you must hate kids"), and is exactly why so many are upset at the political leadership of our professional organization making such a boneheaded choice in moving to support Obama this early in the election cycle.

        I understand full well who the NEA represents, just as you should understand that no interest group is ever going to achieve anything on behalf of its members if it is perceived to being willing to capitulate on its core issues in exchange for nothing more than a pat on the head.  Obama has been following flawed policies regarding public education ever since he took office, and if this is the last, best chance for teachers to get him to change his mind and start favoring kids, public schools, and teachers over the corporate-schools, high-stakes testing cabal, then we have to take it.  He has given us absolutely no reason to expect that he's going to have an epiphany and come back to the policies that made so many teachers such loyal Dems for so long - accordingly, he's got no right to expect us to turn out in the numbers (or with the enthusiasm) that we did in 2008.  The power to change that, of course, rests in his hands.

        No, it is not the responsibility of the NEA to look after all those socio-economic factors you listed, even though local affiliates of the teacher's unions do far, far more than most members of the Democratic Party in trying to alleviate them.  And if you're thinking that Democrats in Congress - outside of an honored, critical handful - are representing any of those interests in any real way, then you may well have crossed the line from "optimistic partisan" to "outright Pollyanna."

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