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The National Education Association makes its formal political endorsements at its Representative Assembly, which occurs each year around July 4.  In 2011 the assembled Representatives will have a motion to endorse Barack Obama for reelection in 2012.  The union's Political Action Committee made that decision this past week.    Sam Stein provides good detail of the background of the decision in this Huffington Post piece.  In short, the decision is in part payback for the number of teacher jobs saved by the stimulus, and also is because so far no one even remotely likely on the Republican side comes close to Obama on issues that matter to the NEA.

There is one more consideration.  Had the state presidents not proposed a resolution for this year's assembly, formal endorsement would not have been possible until July of 2012.  Stein quotess the union's director of campaigns and elections, Karen White:  

If there was going to be any action taken this calendar it had to happen this week,” she said, noting, with a tinge of regret, that the union had only had four months during the 2008 election to help campaign for Obama. Owing to that constraint, she added, the NEA’s state presidents made the calculation at their annual meeting on Thursday that no one currently in the GOP presidential field -- or in the field of potential entrants -- offered a more favorable platform for its members.

That's the context.   Below the fold is my reaction.

It is hard to imagine anyone arising from the Republican field who will be better than Obama on public education.   But that does not say very much.  After all, the current trend among Republicans, as seen by many of their governors, is to attempt to smash teacher unions, to do away with tenure, and if possible, to totally undermine the legitimacy of public schools.  That is not a very high bar to exceed.

There is another issue, which is recognition that Citizen's United will unleash corporate funds on behalf of the Republican nominee in a fashion that will require union activities to have to begin far earlier than might have been the case in previous cycles.

All that is well and good.

And in fairness to the administration, the stimulus did save many jobs in public education at a time when local and state governments were in desperate straights.  It also did something for one year that had never been done before -  it effectively fully funded the federal share of IDEA, (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), at the 40% share promised in the original Congressional commitment, but which had never before even reached 20%.  

Yet at the same time in the same stimulus, Arne Duncan moved to impose on states several destructive approaches, often without the ideas being fully vetted by Congress.  Here I refer to the aspects of Race to the Top (RttT) which include the four methods to which states must turn in cases of "failing" schools, one of which - firing all the teachers - both Duncan and Obama approved when it was applied in Central Falls RI despite the fact that the primary cause of low test scores was the conditions of poverty from which the students came.  The scoring for RttT effectively required states to tie some portion of teacher evaluation to student test scores despite the fact that the tests were designed to measure student knowledge not what the teachers had done, and thus such a use of scores is not psychometrically appropriate - a point the three major professional organizations dealing with educational measurement (National Council for Measurement in Education, American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association) have made repeatedly.  Also, even the administration acknowledged the low quality of the current generation of tests when it committed $350 million to the two consortia designing new generations of assessments.  Yet scores on these tests were being used to classify schools as "failing" and were to be used as part of the evaluation of teachers.

Another mandate being imposed was that states lift caps on charter schools.  What evidence there is about the performance of charters is largely limited to comparisons on the same flawed tests.  Despite the fact that many charters can exclude harder to educate children (depends on the chartering law in the states) there is no evidence that charters as a whole perform better than the public schools from which they draw, with the most thorough study (the CREDO study run by Margaret Raymond at Stanford) showing that overall charters were about twice as  likely to perform at a lower level than the equivalent public schools than they were to perform better.   But even this data is problematic, because we are not comparing the performance of the same students, the students being tested are not randomly assigned to the schools, and we lack good controls on the influence of other factors.

It is worth noting that Democrats for Education Reform is a big advocate of charters.  The likes of hedge fund operator Whitney Tilson have had some influence on this administration's educational policy.  Some hedge funds have found ways to profit from charters.  DEFR is willing to attack teachers unions and tenure.  

Perhaps some of the state presidents supporting the decision this week hoped that if they got on board early in supporting the administration they might be able to have more influence in shaping policy as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind being the title of the most recent iteration of reauthorization) is still up for reauthorization.  Sadly, in this I think they are very mistaken, and it is why I cannot approve of the decision made by the political action committee.

During the discussion of the $10 billion for saving the jobs of public employees - a separate piece of legislation that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that was the main stimulus spending -  then House Appropriations Chair David Obey of Wisconsin sought to move less than $1 billion of unspent funds from Race to the Top in order to help pay for keeping teacher jobs.  Arne Duncan opposed this and got the President to threaten to veto the entire bill if that provision remained in the legislation.  I will note that the House Democratic Leadership all supported Obey's version of the bill, but the provision was not in the Senate version and the Conference Committee, under the veto threat, removed it.   On education this administration did not even listen to its own allies in the House, and I think it is arrogant of the NEA to believe that having already given away its biggest single card -  endorsement - it will therefore achieve any more leverage or influence in its dealings with this administration.

Let me be clear.  I am in this piece not merely expressing my own distaste for what the NEA is doing.   I am on enough education lists to have heard a far amount of anger and disgust at the decision.   I am reading of long-time NEA members who are threatening to quit the union over this.  I know of others who will no longer continue their union activity -  for example, some who are building reps as am I wonder how they can continue in such a capacity when they so profoundly disagree with what the administration is doing on many matters of education yet their national union seems in a rush to judgment to foreclose any possible discussion.

Yes, in theory the representatives assembling this July could decide not to accept the recommendation.  That is highly unlikely, and those meeting this week know it.  Right now teachers are concentrating on end of year tasks, which for too many mean a serious focus on the aforementioned tests which have come to destructively dominate so much of what happens in our schools.  Some schools will end within 3-4 weeks, leaving very little time to do any organizing against this decision.

Were I a member of that Representative Assembly, I would forcefully argue against its approval.   That to me represents a willingness to affirm too much that is wrong in what this administration has done - and continues to do - in educational policy.

I have chosen to limit my role as a union activist to being lead rep for the teachers in my building.  I did not run for office in our bargaining unit, the Prince George's County Education Association.  Nor did I choose to run as a delegate for either the state convention (in October in Ocean City MD) or the national convention in July.  There is only so much time and energy I can devote to union tasks without it detracting from my primary role as teacher for my students.

I also believe my voice is more effective in the roles I play in writing online about education (here and elsewhere) and in serving on the Executive Committee of the Save Our Schools March and National Call to Action.  There I add my voice to those of others at the grassroots who are trying to change the direction of educational policy in a more positive fashion than what we are seeing from this administration.  Here I note that the Department of Education now seems concerned about us - we have had key figures from the Department reach out to some of our leadership in response to the criticisms some of us have put forward in our online writing, but as I noted in my recent open letter, Dear Secretary Duncan, the words of the Secretary of Education are so much in conflict with the policies his department has been propounding that I found myself asking him if he were bi-polar.  In that piece, which if you check you will see has been very widely shared, I concluded like this:  

There is an incredible resource that could totally transform our schools.  It already exists.  It is the knowledge and experience and dedication of many of our teachers.   Your task as Secretary of Education should be seeking how you can harness resource, rather than antagonizing and alienating it.

Are you willing to really listen, without preconceptions, without insisting on hanging on to ideas to which you may already have committed serious personal and political capital?  If you are, you actually could start to help meaningfully transform American public education in a positive way -  with the help and dedication of teachers and parents.

If not, then I fear you will succeed only in further damaging American pubic schools, to the detriment of our society, and in the process robbing our young people of the very richness of education to which they should be entitled.

So which will it be, Mr. Secretary?  The next move is yours.

Peace.  

I think the NEA -  and the AFT - should be withholding endorsement in order to get the administration to be willing to truly listen to what teachers have to say.  

I fear that some in the leadership of the unions - both of them - are too concerned with wanting a seat at the table and not concerned enough with what is best for our schools and our students.

I worry that once the endorsement is finalized, this administration will have even less reason to listen to the voices of those of us involved in things like the Save Our Schools March, and will point to the endorsement as "proof" that teachers as a whole support their policies.  

I'm not sure how much weight endorsing or not endorsing now can have.  I only know that one does not give away leverage without getting something in return.  That is piss-poor negotiations.   Piss-poor negotiations is one of the things we have seen from this administration in some of its dealings with the Republicans in Congress.  It is saddening to see that the leadership of the NEA is making the administration seem like strong negotiators in comparison.

This is my personal reaction.   I do not claim that I am speaking for anyone else.  Not officially.  

I have, however, engaged in enough electronic exchanges in the past few days to know that some of the most committed educators in this country are unhappy at this decision by the leadership of the NEA.

In this, the union's leadership is NOT speaking for me, and I suspect is not speaking for many teachers.

Make of it what you will.

Peace.

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:09 AM PDT.

Also republished by oo, Teachers Lounge, and The Amateur Left.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (121+ / 0-)

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:09:48 AM PDT

    •  Well written, Ken, as always! (13+ / 0-)

      I share the same fears, having gone through too many years in the Democratic party being told that of course I would support the anointed one, because after all, who else could I turn to?  Or being taunted that my disagreement didn't count because I'd just bolt to the Greens, or the Citizens Party, or whatever the flash-in-the-pan third party was that election.

      Sometimes I really wish we didn't have this winner-take-all system.  Proportional voting sounds good some of the time.

    •  thanks for keeping up the heat, teacherken (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD, Mr Robert, chuckvw

      i love that you write about an issue you know what you're talking about and you have a personal stake in.  as proud i am of the Obama administration this week it doesn't at all change the fact that there are issues that we need to keep putting pressure on them to do better and/or to do something different.

      if you are trying to tell me who Obama really is... i've already stopped listening

      by Anton Bursch on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:49:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry I didn't see this yesterday, Ken (0+ / 0-)

      But your point is very well-taken. Obama told us to "hold my feet to the fire". Right? Well, we sure are NOT doing that if we're willing to state, this far out from the election, that he already has our vote.  And that can apply not only to what the NEA is doing, but what each of us, as individuals, are doing. How often to we hear people here say things like, "But of course, in the end, I'll have to hold my nose and vote for Obama." ?? When Obama knows that -- that we'll vote for him no matter what he does or doesn't do -- what incentive does he have to do the right thing? I'll tell you what incentive: NONE! So this way, way too early endorsement of Obama, whether by an organization or by individuals, does NOTHING to help the causes we support.

      "Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media." -- Noam Chomsky

      by ratmach on Tue May 10, 2011 at 01:20:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yes (41+ / 0-)

    Seems like they lose their ability to influence the agenda if they pre-endorse a candidate:

    "We're sure whatever you decide to do for education will be great!"

    I think you are right that the NEA should have held out -- at least to see what kind of concessions they can get from the candidate.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:20:16 AM PDT

    •  The NEA leadership is being smart. (17+ / 0-)

      The Republicans are actively trying to destroy all unions. If they win, they may actually succeed.

      Any posturing, threats, attempts at being coy, or playing hard-to-get would be worse than non-credible: They'd be laughable.

      The NEA represents the interests of a group of upper-middle-class professionals. There are instances where these interests significantly diverge from those of the inner-city families who are stuck with the worst schools. Bringing up all of these issues now only divides the party.

      First, let's win the election. Afterwards, there will be plenty of time for me to try to get my daughter out of the Bad Public Schools and into a Charter -- and plenty of time for the NEA to scheme ways to shut my daughter's Charter School down.

      But for now, let's just win, please?

      •  Incorrect, NEA represents the business model (9+ / 0-)

        of education "reform": more testing, more discredited value added model, more top down directives, more agreement with the business community that teachers can shoulder the burden of the 2008 corporate fuck up.

        "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

        by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:45:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  even if they lose they may succeed (11+ / 0-)
        The Republicans are actively trying to destroy all unions. If they win, they may actually succeed.

        Without a stronger counter balance in the Whitehouse--they just succeed perhaps a little more slowly and incrementally.

        Change you can believe in? I'd say that is with a small 'c', but that would be a bit of an understatement.

        by GeeBee on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:49:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unconditional support is smart since when? (13+ / 0-)
        The Republicans are actively trying to destroy all unions. If they win, they may actually succeed.

        The Republicans are even more crazy and unpopular now than when Bush left office, so there's no reason, no reason at all, to support Republican-Lite policies "because it could be worse".

        But for now, let's just win, please?

        Your priorities are noted.  But not all voters think that heading towards the cliff at 60 miles per hour is such a great alternative to heading towards the cliff at 90 miles per hour.

        "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

        by Uberbah on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:32:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is not a primary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          foufou

          If this were 2008 and we had a contested primary, it would make sense for the NEA to throw their weight around.

          In a primary, there is a possibility of getting a different Democrat. That possibility does not exist now.

          There will be plenty of time for the NEA to push their agenda once the election is won.

          •  No... but it should be. No motive whatsoever for (5+ / 0-)

            Obama to become more like an actual Democrat, or to follow the Democratic platform, since there's no competition.  Alas.

            Conservatives are] engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; ...the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. JK Galbraith

            by Vtdblue on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:57:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What do you mean, does not exist. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chuckvw, 3goldens

            Obama is quite possibly the most primaryable politician in history, given how he has flip flopped on his entire campaign platform.  On everything from health care to union rights to gay rights to curbing the power of lobbyists to restoring the rule of law to ending the Bush Tax Cuts, President Obama has sold Candidate Obama down the river.  Not only can he be primaried, he should be primaried - or else base is flat out telling the party that yes, by golly, will kick that football no matter how hard and how many times you take it away from us.

            Those that get the vapors over any discussion of a primary, lets get real as to what the actual problems would be:

            1. The media and the Democratic establishment love to shit over liberals and progressives just as much as Republicans do.  Or does "fucking retarded" and "should be drug tested" not ring any bells, or the SYFPH diaries right here on Dkos
            2. The same monied special interests that own the Republicans also own the Democrats, and would lend their hands for the hippie punching.  Banks, health insurance companies, energy....

            What's not a problem?  Telling voters that there's a better alternative - and guess who best proved this point?  Candidate Obama, where he beat the Clinton machine and brand three years ago.

            "Pragmatists don't DO things! They explain to you how things CANNOT be done." - AndyS In Colorado

            by Uberbah on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:05:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  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."

      •  Are you suggesting (0+ / 0-)

        that school teachers of all people are of the privileged upper-middle class? Or that the NEA doesn't represent teachers? I don't understand.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:50:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Teachers... (0+ / 0-)

          ...have economic and political interests that diverge from the interests of the poor families in the inner city neighborhood.

          We will need to resolve these differences. It will be a nasty political fight. That fight can't be avoided, but it should be postponed until after the election.

          Please notice I'm not saying that teachers are overpaid (they aren't) or that teachers are greedy (all humans are greedy). I'm just saying that we don't want to have this battle in summer 2012 when we can do it in spring 2013. I think the NEA leadership agrees with me.

    •  Holy Pre-Capitulation, Batman! (0+ / 0-)

      Endorsing now completely forecloses on any potential leverage over upcoming education policy.  That potential leverage may not have been enough to turn the tide, but by giving away the store up front, the NEA have made themselves (and us!) irrelevant.  This NEA member is not happy about that decision, calendar issues be damned.

  •  The battle between "common" wisdom (8+ / 0-)

    and knowledge will never cease. I understand and agree with your position. I do not believe Union endorsement is as important as jobs and more jobs to Obama's reelection. I have faint hope of the employment situation being any better come November 2012 and I believe it will be much worse.

    Education is not a race. Someone needs to help Obama understand this. No one is ever best, many are brilliant but no one is best.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:27:02 AM PDT

    •  I'm Trying to Figure Out the Logic Here (20+ / 0-)

      Obama wants the union endorsement because it means millions of dollars in cold, hard cash and feet pounding pavement to get the vote out.

      The union wants to endorse Obama because ...

      Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

      by bink on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:33:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's at the beginning of the diary (15+ / 0-)

        There are some valid reasons for the NEA to make this move. After seeing what is going on in Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey, and so forth, it is clear that we need Democrats in Washington if we want our country to continue to have public schools that try to meet the needs of all students.

        In the end, I agree with teacherken--this administration has some horrible education policies, and we need to make our opposition to them clear.

        "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

        by Reino on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:00:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some horrible policies? Some? (11+ / 0-)

          everything Obama believes---mayoral takeover, more standardized testing (but not for his daughters), more charter schools, more merit pay, more neo liberal agenda all across the board in schools, has already been proven failures every where they've been tried.

          Simply put: Obama's agenda, which is Bush's on steroids, is leading to the destruction of public education.

          "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

          by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:48:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're aware that having Democrats in (12+ / 0-)

          Washington isn't stopping what's happening in those states, right?

          It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

          by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:52:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I Am (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, becxx, elwior

            I wish there were better options out there, and I agree that the NEA, which I belong to, should not endorse Obama.

            Democrats are better than Republicans when it comes to public education. The only reason it's true is that it's impossible to be worse than Republicans.

            "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

            by Reino on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:57:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are better options. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Uberbah

              They're just really scary and have the potential to backfire.

              It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

              by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:11:50 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Electorally, there really aren't better options... (4+ / 0-)

                ...particularly not in the near term. It's the Democrats or the Republicans.

                Anyone who thinks that there's a realistic chance of a viable third party on the Left that actually wins elections (as opposed to spoiling them) anytime in the next 3-4 Presidential cycles is fooling themselves.

                •  If you limit yourself to two choices presented (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Uberbah, chuckvw, psychodrew

                  to you by people who openly state they wish to destroy everything you value, then you've simply conceded defeat.

                  I said nothing at all about third parties.

                  I don't really know why you did.

                  It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

                  by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:06:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So the "better options" are... what? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    foufou, Cedwyn

                    If you're saying there are "better options" than Democrats or Republicans, then you're either (a) not talking electorally (and I specifically indicated that I was speaking in electoral terms), or (b) talking about a third party.

                    Now, I do think that there's an extent to which a sort of "progressive caucus" within the Democratic Party—a kind of balance to the Tea Party, something like the New Right with a decade-scope plan for taking over the party—could be very effective if done right, but again that has to be a longer-term project.

                    And I'm not sure we have a longer term to work with, to be perfectly honest. I think the next decade will determine the course of the next century or two for this country—and perhaps this species.

                •  how many times does that need to be said? (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  OIL GUY, foufou, arpear, ribletsonthepan

                  good !@#$%& grief!

                  It is Obama or a republican.

                  accept it already

                  It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                  by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:07:07 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Repeating over and over again (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    badger, Uberbah, elwior, psychodrew

                    that you believe it's impossible for this country to do better than we've done in the last two years does not actually make it so.

                    It just demonstrates that you believe 10 million people losing health insurance in that time frame is "good enough".

                    It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

                    by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:55:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  oh FFS (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      arpear, foufou

                      we're talking about candidates for president in 2012.  it is obama or a republican, okay?

                      of course america, and obama, can do better than the last two years.

                      on the flip side, do you have a credible candidate in mind?

                      seriously, jesse...do everyone a favor and do a little more thinking before you type.

                      It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                      by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:28:26 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yes, Cedwyn. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        psychodrew

                        It's just "realistic" to cheer the jobless recovery and insist that refusing to fight for real improvement to working peoples lives is "pragmatic".

                        You're apparently going to have to find out the hard way (again, since 2010 didn't sink in) that you can't brow beat jobless people with no insurance into going to polls.

                        It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

                        by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:58:23 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  And therein lies the dichotomy (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    badger, JesseCW, Uberbah, 3goldens

                    responsible for widespread electoral apathy.

                    Obama needs to put more distance, ideologically, between himself and the republicans if he wants anything close to the enthusiasm he had in '08

                    They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                    by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:12:07 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  shoulda woulda coulda (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ribletsonthepan, foufou

                      is he as we know him demonstrably better than a republican?

                      yes.

                      It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                      by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:26:26 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeah. And on a scale of 100, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Uberbah, elwior

                        5 is demonstrably better than 2.

                        What's your point?

                        They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                        by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:37:33 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  my point is this (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          foufou

                          i am not an absolutist by any measure.  i don't do black and white.  i'm overly keen on nuance and the in-betweens.

                          but for crying out fucking loud:

                          IT IS OBAMA OR A REPUBLICAN IN 2012

                          pretending that isn't true displays all the political acumen of a sea cucumber.

                          and given that it is obama or a republican, guess what?  it's about one of the only times a true binary is valid:

                          obama is better than the republican.

                          yes or no?

                          if yes, then obama.

                          if no, then republican.

                          it's just !@#$%& like that, no matter how much anybody wishes it weren't.  for pete's goddamn sake!!!

                          i mean, if you're starving and someone offers you pb & j or a salad, it's all well and good to wish for a steak.  but the pb&j will unquestionably sustain you better than the salad.

                          for the fucking love of fuck, how is this a difficult concept?

                          It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                          by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:40:33 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Delightful! (0+ / 0-)
                            i am not an absolutist by any measure.  i don't do black and white.
                            IT IS OBAMA OR A REPUBLICAN IN 2012
                            !@#$%&

                            Aside from that, salad is much better for you than a PB&J.

                            They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                            by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:22:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  oh my fucking god (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            foufou
                            i am not an absolutist by any measure.  i don't do black and white.  i'm overly keen on nuance and the in-betweens.

                            but for crying out fucking loud:

                            IT IS OBAMA OR A REPUBLICAN IN 2012

                            that is not a contradictory statement.  do you know the meaning and usage of "but" as it appears above, as a conjunction?

                            another fun thing about english:  context!  as in:

                            i am not an absolutist by any measure.  i don't do black and white.  i'm overly keen on nuance and the in-betweens.

                            but for crying out fucking loud:

                            IT IS OBAMA OR A REPUBLICAN IN 2012

                            ...and given that it is obama or a republican, guess what?  it's about one of the only times a true binary is valid:

                            salad being "better" for you than pb&j depends entirely on circumstance.  pb&j absolutely, incontrovertibly, provides more sustenance than a salad.  get real.

                            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                            by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:44:43 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  maybe (0+ / 0-)

                            if it's natural organic peanut butter, and 100% real fruit jelly on whole wheat bread stacked against a typical side salad you'd find in a restaurant.

                            But when I eat a salad, It's a big ass bowl of it, with lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, various nuts, dried fruit, broccoli, cheese, other veggies laying around, some deli meat if I have it,  and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.  You can't beat that with a sammich, mate.

                            Also, Obama is way closer to Reagan than FDR on the ideology scale, so whatevs.

                            Oh, almost forgot... "but" doesn't eradicate contradiction.  Consider "I'm a vegetarian, but I like my cheeseburgers medium rare" or "I'm absolutely not a cannibal, but that guy's arm was delicious!"

                            I also appreciate the honesty you've shown in abandoning "!@#$%&" to just type "fuck" right out.  it's more real that way.

                            They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                            by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:56:02 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, mate (0+ / 0-)

                            i make wacky salads, too.  i put ginger and raw garlic in mine sometimes.  but those things are hardly standard in a salad and you know it.  that's why they're called "chef salads" or "walnut chevre salad" and the like.

                            anyhoo, you didn't click the link, did you?

                            Definition of BUT
                            1
                            a : except for the fact b : that —used after a negative c : without the concomitant that d : if not : unless e : than —not often in formal use

                            2
                            a : on the contrary : on the other hand : notwithstanding —used to connect coordinate elements b : yet c : with the exception of —used before a word often taken to be the subject of a clause

                            as in "i don't usually go for suspense/horror flicks, but i really have to admire Hitchcock."  or, say, "i am not an absolutist, but in this instance it's valid."

                            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                            by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 03:54:19 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ginger and raw garlic (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cedwyn

                            now that's some commentary I can agree with!  With peanuts and raisins, one could almost make salad and PB&J one and the same.  Almost.  If only you'd clarified "side salad" at the fore, perhaps all this useless enmity could have been avoided.

                            Do you grate them?  I find both to have overpowering flavors otherwise, but we all have different tastes.

                            They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                            by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:13:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Whimsical Rapscallion

                            see, side salad is the default.  that's why you specify otherwise.

                            ; P

                            i just chop it super fine/thin.

                            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                            by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:03:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm gonna try it (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Cedwyn

                            many happy salads to you

                            They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

                            by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:12:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  ditto (0+ / 0-)

                            the best salad i EVER had was at this hole in the wall in rotorua, NZ.  at a place called barbarella.  LOL

                            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

                            by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:49:13 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

          •  and you're aware (5+ / 0-)

            that this diary is about presidential endorsement, right?

            and that the point of Reino's post was that we should look to WI and MI as case studies of what republicans will do, given an inch.  

            ergo, the need to prevent that nonsense at the federal level.  in which case, being upset with the NEA for endorsing the only viable prospect is absurd.

            less knee-jerk, more serious, please.  

            It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

            by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:04:27 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you entirely miss the point (10+ / 0-)

              which is there is absolutely no need to endorse right now.  

              There is no primary issue

              active involvement of teachers will realistically not start before next summer anyhow

              in the meantime any leverage on issues that matters is undercut

              "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

              by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:35:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cedwyn, foufou

                the flaw in this thinking is the idea that the White House will be scared into progressive education policies by a hold out of the NEA endorsement.  

                Winning an election is all about political calculation, and I think the White House would correctly calculate that in the end it would get the NEA endorsement, regardless of a less than perfect education record, and would not be moved to re-order its priorities when it comes to political battles in a significant way.

                Like it or not, that's the kind of pragmatism that marks this administration---the belief that it cannot deliver all things to all people, and that it will prioritize accordingly, and in order to get re-elected.  And really, the most important thing this president can do for democrats is to get re-elected.  If he doesn't, any version of the democrat vision is a mute point.  Ask Jimmy Carter.

                In short, imo, holding off the NEA's endorsement would not compensate in results what it would lose in time to organize, raise money and GOTV for 2012.

              •  Spot on. As a fellow NEA member, FWIW, I sent (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Uberbah, aliasalias, elwior, chuckvw

                an email with a "No Support," at this time.  

                Duncan's assinine rules for getting funds (eg must accept charters) put our state out of the running for money, entirely.  As a result, our special ed children will be losing their aides and our general ed classes will be going up to 36-38 students ... since teachers will need to be laid off.

                He can congratulate himself all he wants (which is what he seems to do in every speech I've ever heard him make), but how in the world are we even going to FIT 8-10 more desks in rooms that were made for 25 kids?  Our school was built in 1965; the kids were smaller back then.  They already have to move down the aisles sideways, now.  

                And, I have a class set of 28 books that will now be shared in classes of 36-38 and across the day among 158.  They've already moved us from a 5 to a 7 year text adoption cycle.  It's only been 4 years and those 28 text books I have are already being held together with duct tape.

                Yes, Sec. Duncan and President Obama ... be proud that American children are sharing and can't take home books being held together with duct tape.

                As for our dear, special ed children ... we saved the aides who help them eat and go to the restroom and helped them all day long in a thousand other ways by our union voting to give up our negotiated raise over the last 2 years.  There is no raise to give up in the new contract ... so we will not be able to save our para-educators.  

                Yes, Sec. Duncan and President Obama ... our union gave a damn about these children and gave money out of our pockets to care for them while you used corporatist claptrap rules to simply reject them and public education in our state out-of-hand.

                Sorry.  I'm with you, and in no rush to see my union dues donated early like this.

                Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

                by bkamr on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:18:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Just ran to the window to see if pigs were flying (0+ / 0-)

                  given it seems Uberbah and I agree on something LOL.  Well, almost, I'm "still in," but I'm just NOT "in at all" on this policy point.

                  Plutocracy (noun) Greek ploutokratia, from ploutos wealth; 1) government by the wealthy; 2) 21st c. U.S.A.; 3) 22nd c. The World

                  by bkamr on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:53:24 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Democrats in Washington (6+ / 0-)

              aren't stopping the destruction of Unions.  They've sat by and watched for 30 years.

              As this President did, when he had a historic majority and decided to ignore the EFCA.

              Doing high-kicks and screaming "go team" is  destroying the working class of this country.

              Those of us who are members of that class are a bit disturbed by that.

              It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

              by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:17:28 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  don't cite NJ, Reino (0+ / 0-)

          the machine  Democrats here have decided to follow the Christie agenda on education,  union-busting and most of the "toolkit"  "reform" program.

          It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

          by sayitaintso on Mon May 09, 2011 at 04:14:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Focus on the state battles! (0+ / 0-)

          What the NEA should be doing, instead of giving away the store, is to focus time & money on the state battles over teacher and labor rights in general.  Try to hold the line at the state level.

          The Ed Dept seems to be taking a lot of heat, resulting in Arne's recent "love letter" to teachers.  I think the Admin is becoming aware just how angry a lot of classroom teachers are with Obama's education policies, and trying to figure out how to keep the kittens in the box for the election.

          Folding early just tells them they don't have to worry about us.  At least try to hold the administration's feet to the fire!

      •  Reason for NEA Endorsement (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou, loblolly

        The union wants to endorse Obama because ... his Republican opponent, if elected, would try to destroy public education root and branch?  Does that not seem like a sufficient reason?  Do we want to vote for Ralph Nader again and elect George W. Bush instead?

  •  as a union member my entire life (21+ / 0-)

    other than while I was in the military, I have usually  gone with with democratic candidate just for the fact that I have never seen a Republican yet that seems to support union ideals or supports their positions.

    My father was a union steward and organizer in the UAW back in the 30s, 40, 50s and 60s until he retired, many of those years it was hazardous to your health to be a union member  let alone an organizer, we had union meetings in our basement before they built a union hall

    when I worked at Rohr Industries in the early 80s and was a aircraft painter I belonged to the IAM, machinists union, and when I went to the Post Office as a letter carrier I was there less than a year when I volunteered to be a shop steward  the NALC has always endorsed the democratic candidates

    so regardless of when the unions endorse and start working towards the election or re-election of a democratic candidate seems to be a moot point, the democratic candidate will always be a better choice than a republican candidate  and a 3rd party candidate will never be elected President of the US

    if we like or agree with President Obama it is the horse we are taking to the race in 2012 so it basically comes down to when do we start working to get him re-elected

    I don't see anyone on Daily Kos voting for Trump, or Mitt, or Huckabee or even Bobby Jindall with or without his birth certificate

    I respect your right to your opinion and how you feel about the administration and some of their policies but they still seem better than the No Child Left Behind that was never funded by the Bush Administration yet all the school districts had to teach to the tests    is the race to top fair, not really  but it is adding funds to education and causing some school districts to try new ideas

    I still believe in unions and  seniority  last one hired is the first one laid off   if the teachers are bad document their problems and fire them   there are right ways to get rid of bad employees  using lay offs is not the right way  seniority has to count for something

  •  Of course they should be withholding (13+ / 0-)

    endorsement in order to get the administration's attention.

    So why aren't they?

  •  As Partisan a Decision as they Come (17+ / 0-)

    " Perhaps some of the state presidents supporting the decision this week hoped that if they got on board early in supporting the administration they might be able to have more influence in shaping policy as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind being the title of the most recent iteration of reauthorization) is still up for reauthorization.  Sadly, in this I think they are very mistaken, and it is why I cannot approve of the decision made by the political action committee."

    I agree, Ken. This decision was an acknowledgment that Republican governors and Congressional Reps around the country have stopped all pretense of collaborative sausage-making and are pursuing free-market, anti-union policies with a vengeance. State EA leaders think they have some influence over Democratic pushback against Scott Walker, John Kasich, Mitch Daniels, Rick Snyder, et al. The focus is on the local, not feds. Unfortunately, in the last decade, federal policy-making has totally dominated school practice, in unprecedented (and destructive) ways.

    I also think that members tend to think black-white/ good-bad on this. Very few teachers know what DFER is (Democratic politics for rich folks leaves out teachers) or about its enormous influence on the likes of Arne Duncan who really is a corporate capitalist. We have met the enemy, and he is us.

  •  We Endorsed NCLB (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JanL, JesseCW, elwior

    It's getting difficult to have high expectations for NEA, an organization I also belong to. Is there any chance that NEA could simultaneously endorse Obama and pass a resolution condemning Duncan and RttT?

    "H.R.W.A.T.P.T.R.T.C.I.T.G -- He really was a terrible president that ran the country into the ground."

    by Reino on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:55:03 AM PDT

  •  Arne Duncan is the single (22+ / 0-)

    greatest splotch on Obama's record in my opinion. He's appalling, and I am working very hard here to not be profane. The mere mention of his name infuriates me. I... do not think I can stay in a thread about him any longer this. He makes my blood pressure rise to dangerous levels.

    •  Duncan As Chicago Public Schools CEO (11+ / 0-)

      http://www.rethinkingschools.org/...

      Collateral Damage

      The Mid-South Plan was designed to close 20 of its 22 schools, almost entirely African American, over a four-year period, replacing them with Renaissance 2010 schools. Parents received notice from the Board the final day of school in 2004 that their children's schools were closing. Children have been treated as cattle, shuffled around from school to school. One Mid-South school, Doolittle East, received over 500 students from June to September 2005 without additional resources to facilitate this change. This resulted in spiked violence. On the west side, the closing of Austin High School (another African American school) resulted in over 100 students who used to walk to school having to leave their community to go to Roberto Clemente High School, a primarily Latino school over five miles away. The results were spiked violence. When Englewood High School closed in 2006, hundreds of students were parceled out to Robeson, Dyett, Hyde Park, and Hirsch High Schools?all are African American. The community warned CPS that these moves would result in increased violence and put children's lives at risk due to crossing neighborhood and gang boundaries. As usual, Duncan and CPS ignored community wisdom, and the results at all of these schools were destabilizing spikes in student violence.

      Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

      by frandor55 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for writing this, teacherken (16+ / 0-)

    What you liad out was not only a problem with teachers unions, via the Stockholm syndrome declining union membership and what unions have faced in this country since Taft Hartley led the way for right to work laws as many sellout Democrats overrode Truman’s veto (reminds me of today’s Democrats and sadly our president as he has shown he cares nothing for the EFCA he cosponsored) but the NEA like the AFL CIO and Trumka really are on a downward spiral in their decision making.

    There is only so much shit the rank and file will accept until union leaders are voted out and or lose power because of being just another arm of the Democrat party in that it’s the lesser of the two evils, a big lesser, but as you say, the bar is extremely low here. It’s like having a shitty ineffective union and no union. Unions don’t really have power unless the government is afraid of them, but when a government hires COS who openly mocks them, sends jobs to China China China and brag about it as recently hired GE stooge Immelt did, and only asks them to sacrifice, unions are hanging on by a thread.

    Hiring Arnice Duncan is a slap in the face and reeks of BS support for BS market fundamentalism and charter schools you have covered very well. I found this rather maddening:

    During the discussion of the $10 billion for saving the jobs of public employees - a separate piece of legislation that the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that was the main stimulus spending -  then House Appropriations Chair David Obey of Wisconsin sought to move less than $1 billion of unspent funds from Race to the Top in order to help pay for keeping teacher jobs.  Arne Duncan opposed this and got the President to threaten to veto the entire bill if that provision remained in the legislation.  I will note that the House Democratic Leadership all supported Obey's version of the bill, but the provision was not in the Senate version and the Conference Committee, under the veto threat, removed it.

    This also has to do with our one chamber oligarchy as Democrats failed the country and fake sellout progressives like Amy Klobuchar and others refused to support filibuster reform, of any kind.

    Like you, as a citizen I find myself wanting to work on what I want to do to make a difference in this world and what makes me happy, because we seem like pawns and we either get in line and eat this rotten moldy half a loaf or we just decide we don’t like sandwiches anymore. We’ll eat them if we are starving, but they are not great nor should moldy sandwiches be put up on a pedestal.

    No one in this administration is willing to use the successes of the welfare state in education such as Finland and high teacher unions and public investment. Why not travel to Finland? Why do we have to hear about Geoffrey Canada while pretending his charter model’s successes don’t have severe flaws in the metrics?  Why not debunk BS market fundamentalism and if kossacks don’t like my comment, I have to wonder WTF their priorities are. When a president refuses to acknowledge that market fundamentalism is fatally flawed, it’s no wonder we can’t get another stimulus through the senate which would help immensely like many of the provisions in this one, though it could and should have had better multipliers as Christina Romer wanted and these are facts; facts that hurt as the jobs situation is still abysmal and all progressives were proven right whether people want to admit it or not.

    Anyway I understand your feelings on this and they are because you live education and you can see this going on and the Stockholm syndrome happening as we have to rely on a party that pretends it can talk out of both sides of its mouth about the New Deal failing an succeeding which is BS, because it’s what separates us from a third world country. We don’t really have a good narrative on the WH on this and I have no sympathy for hiring Arnie Duncan and I sincerely enjoyed your letter and I enjoy you diaries.

    Thank you, teacherken.

    Pro Life??? Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers!- George Carlin

    by priceman on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:00:47 AM PDT

  •  Maybe I'm more cynical than you, (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    testvet6778, lilypew, LynneK, JanL, neaguy, foufou

    ... but I never expected Obama to be significantly different as president from what he has been. I knew he'd be much better than McCain, that he'd have the best chance in years to get health-care reform through, that he'd cave in stupid ways on some important issues, that he'd abandon stated principles in a few cases, and that I'd be gritting my teeth in some ways as I supported him in 2012. I just didn't know which issues I'd be gritting my teeth over, though it turns out my intuition was mostly on target.

    So we're here in 2011, and the first question on early NEA endorsement is whether endorsements should be made for practical or purity-test reasons. If endorsement is a purity test, EVERY presidential candidate should fail it, because they're politicians and human beings and there is no way to satisfy the demands of every constituency. Or, at least, I think after watching the disaster that's befallen national discourse on taxation after Grover Norquist's crusade, we should think very cautiously about purity tests.

    So let's turn to the practical-reason issue. You've explained clearly the reasons in favor of early endorsement: a chance to support the presidential slate with the best consequences for education and the nation without waiting for summer 2012. What you've implied -- and what other comments have fleshed out -- is that withholding an endorsement provides a chance to bargain: the NEA sits on the sidelines until the president caves on some policy issue.

    Here's what would happen policy-wise with early endorsement: no change. We're agreed on that. Here's what I think would happen policy-wise without early endorsement: no change. Obama and Duncan keep doing what they've been doing, with minor tinkering to see if they can get Congress to reauthorize ESEA, and they just wait for the NEA in 2012. If I'm wrong, please lay out for me the way in which withholding endorsement would change national policy in any significant way.

    •  I think early endorsement forecloses (20+ / 0-)

      the possibility of change.  I know for a fact the Education Department is feeling pressure.  I know for a fact that there are people in the House who are pounding them on really listening to teachers and parents.  I know for a fact that there are people within the Department worried about the Save our Schools March and National Call to Action -  they see the endorsements starting to build, including now state-wide NEA organizations.  

      All that we have been accomplishing in pushing the Department to slow down on its pell-mell rush to reauthorization gets wiped out if NEA endorses this July - administration can and will claim the organization for 3.2 million teachers has now endorsed them, so they don't have to pay attention to us.

      The amount of $$ the NEA can contribute is not going to matter, and won't matter whether it is this year or not until next summer.

      The amount of manpower is not going to be affected by whether or not the union has formally endorsed, and manpower now makes no difference - in fact now the NEA should be far more focused on things happening at the state levels, including the recalls already underway in Wisconsin and now starting in Michigan.  They should be involved in fighting attempts in congress to further gut labor rights - remembering that there are some Dem Senators who may go along with them on that.  

      This is not an issue of purity tests.   Rather it is one of using whatever leverage the NEA might have - which ultimately might be negligible - to make the best positive difference for students and for its members.

      Early endorsement does not accomplish that.

      By the way, since this piece went live, I have already received a half-dozen emails and direct messages from NEA members thanking me for posting it saying how much they agree with me.  Anecdotal to be sure, but worth noting considering how rarely I get such messages from diaries here -  I get maybe one or two every other week.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:19:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please don't leave out Ohio (8+ / 0-)

        when discussing where the NEA needs to be focusing. It seems as if we are being left out of many discussions of the hostility towards and destruction of public education. We need as much sunlight on this as WI and MI. Thanks.

        "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

        by lilypew on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:42:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Concrete or nebulous evidence of pressure? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK, JanL, foufou

        I am not sure why the USDOE would feel significant pressure from the planning for the summer march, except indirectly from Congresscritters (and they'll be on summer recess in late July). I guess I don't see significant leverage there -- an opportunity for networking, yes. But you're better connected than I am, and what appears to be nebulous to me may be more concrete from where you sit.

        I agree with you on the need to focus on state issues. I don't see a contradiction there (except for the unfortunate timing of the NEA RA in terms of the WI recall elections, but that's not an issue regarding early endorsement).

        •  without going into detail (7+ / 0-)

          which I cannot do, the march is beginning to get affirmation and may soon get more from Hill electeds.  We have one who has raised the subject of speaking at the March.

          We are also probably going to be announcing a really important organizational announcement, with several more in the works.

          People in the Department have been trying to stop the momentum that may be gathering.  That I know for a fact.  They worry that it could snowball and represent an organized opposition to their educational policies.  

          So far it is from their perspective only a potential problem, but one that could easily expand without their being able to contain it, and they would like to preempt that possibility.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:14:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I certainly hope they're right, when they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, 3goldens
            worry that it could snowball and represent an organized opposition to their educational policies.

            I've been really interested in the information you've been posting here about the March; am seriously thinking about attending. I am delighted to hear that it's scaring the DoE; may they have nightmares about Madison, and may those nightmares scare them into finally listening to the teachers, the research, and the facts about what really works in education and what is needed in our educational system.

            Poor things, I'm sure part of what scares them is that they've managed to build a great bipartisan coalition around blaming the teachers, and if they acknowledged reality that coalition would go up in smoke faster than you can say "DeVos."

            "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

            by NWTerriD on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:23:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  this gives me a little hope (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens
        I know for a fact the Education Department is feeling pressure.  I know for a fact that there are people in the House who are pounding them on really listening to teachers and parents.  I know for a fact that there are people within the Department worried about the Save our Schools March and National Call to Action -  they see the endorsements starting to build, including now state-wide NEA organizations.  

        Will that pressure bear fruit in time is the question, and it makes no sense to do the negotiations Obama style, which is to capitulate first.
         If it really is a capitulation, considering the fact it's just more 'free market  answers all' stuff, which Obama clearly supports. It'd be nice to see Obama support some very popular Progressive ideas, for a change . That's something I'd really call a 'capitulation'.
        To go all in with unconditional support leaves nothing with  which to negotiate with this administration, and that should go without saying. It's like Poker played with your cards face up, or Pool where you give the opponent 'ball in hand' ( place the cue ball anywhere on the table), you no longer matter in the outcome.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:22:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This is not about "purity." (9+ / 0-)

      I am the farthest thing from a purist. But the Obama admin is not just "impure" on education policy; it is downright stinking filthy.

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:15:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Farce (20+ / 0-)

    As a parent, and someone who has siblings in both the NEA and another (non teacher) union, it looks farcical to me for any union to give Obama an endorsement right now.  It also looks undemocratic, since the primary is a year away, even if there appears to be no credible challenger in the wings.

    I also have three close friends, decades long friends, who are members of the NEA and based on what I have heard in conversations over the past few months, there is going to be a significant rank and file problem with this endorsement.  I am probably understating that.

    It is a farce that will only server to weaken unions further.  

    •  I'm an NEA member (9+ / 0-)

      and the horror of the Republican party's attempted union busting is going to hurt them.  Badly.

      Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

      by chicago minx on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:20:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No doubt (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JanL, JesseCW, Vtdblue, PhilJD, 3goldens

        that the Republicans are mud for their most recent attempts to bust the unions, but this is nothing new.  There are, however, some Republicans in the Delaware Valley area, one of the strongest union areas in the country, who have figured out ways to ingratiate themselves with some unions and a significant number of union members.  Arlen Specter was one of them.  I'll never figure out why union members would ever vote for a Republican.

        But I am simply telling you what I have heard.  I have a lot of contact with teachers -- three kids in public school (each has multiple teachers), friends, next door neighbor, others in town, etc.

      •  Actually this is more debatable (0+ / 0-)

        Most people aren't in unions.   They are bystanders to the impact and  importance of them.

        That they are going to base their voting on union busting is unlikely to swing an election.

        Take, Wisconsin where we have put up an active fight to our anti worker governor.  

        In the latest poll he beats a recall 48-47.   And that's with Feingold as his opponent.   And they haven't even begun to fight with the tens of millions of unaccounted for corporate campaign dollars to swing over the ignorant, independent vote.

        After all this guy Walker has done to damage so many important institutions and values in this state, and all the publicity about these moves...he still has an even chance of surviving.

        "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

        by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:58:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If the poll (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          foufou, 3goldens

          you refer to was Walker Vs. Feingold,that's actually pretty good news. Feingold is a progressive democrat for the most part, and went down hard last election---not least because democrat turnout sucked.

          If the polls have it this close between the two, I'd say Wisconsin Democrats are on the right side of the enthusiasm gap this time. If half that state is willing to dump Walker for a progressive now, imagine what it might be like after Walker and his cabal have crammed through the list of nasty pre recall legislation they have in mind.

    •  I'm REALLY not concerned about this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou
      It also looks undemocratic, since the primary is a year away, even if there appears to be no credible challenger in the wings.

      You can make the case that a union endorsement of the President isn't a good negotiating strategy, as teacherken did, but to suggest that it's "undemocratic" for the union not to hold out in case of a primary challenger is a step too far, I think.

      Much as some around here might hope for a serious primary challenge, (a) it's not gonna happen, and (b) even if it did, there's no way in hell any union that takes its political clout seriously would do anything but endorse the incumbent anyway (as a primary challenger would be certain to lose).

  •  NEA should follow the Firefighters' and let... (19+ / 0-)

    Democrats know there won't be any money or "feet on the street" to support national candidates unless or until support for unions and the people who work under union contracts is specifically shown by Democrats in their actions and legislation.

    Arne Duncan and "Race to the Top" is a failed and destructive pairing that doesn't "incentivize" anything but the undermining of public education. Competition is not the answer, streamlined administration, well qualified and trained teachers, good curriculum choices, decent teacher student ratios, modern informative texts and safe, clean, well supplied schools is the answer.

    The concept of "lock step" education is dated and perhaps the US educational system should be revamped; however, creating an even more inflexible and authoritarian test oriented system is not the way to improve it.

    The NEA and AFT should be fighting for teachers and students, not fighting for a political party's dominance unless that party supports their aims and goals. It is clear that the Republican Party is more destructive than the Democratic Party in its education policy; however, constantly supporting the "lesser of two evils" does not address the root problem, the bad policies supported by both parties.

     

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:18:39 AM PDT

  •  Hopefully this sets up a Damocles Sword situation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw

    towards the administration.  We know they're going to move forward with their plans.  But hopefully there is more time to consider ramifications of withdrawing money and support in order to effect some changes.

    Or maybe, since this is up for a vote, it will send a message if the vote to endorse fails.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun May 08, 2011 at 05:39:33 AM PDT

  •  2012: Reaganomics vs. Extreme Reaganomics. (4+ / 0-)

    Obama is running as Reagan with all the trappings, anti-union, anti-public school, anti-teacher being right there along with tax cuts for rich, $1.3T in welfare for military contractors, cuts to Social Security and Medicare (the three guiding stars of Reaganomics).

    The GOP is running as Caligula Reaganomics, an amalgam of crazy "burn down the house" demagogues, who will be an extreme version of Obama adding in government as enforcer of state Christianity and a literal scorched earth environmental policy vs. Obama slightly tinged earth environmental policy.

    All one can do is sigh and reluctant vote for another four years of destructive Reaganonmics, the slightly less virulent version in hopes US can survive and a real pro-American political leader will emerge in 2016.

    NEA recognizes the reality. Can't really get mad at them for it.

    •  When Obama Praised Reagan In 08..... (5+ / 0-)

      That was the first time I had the sense that Obama could be a mediocre president.

      Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

      by frandor55 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:49:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I knew before because he praised him in... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chuckvw, BuzzLightyear235

        the mistitled The Audacity of Hope.   Not his leadership, he praised his policies.  Go back and read it.

        "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

        by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:07:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with that logic (0+ / 0-)

      is that historical trends say its very difficult for one party to hold the WH for three consecutive terms.  So the likelihood is, assuming an Obama re-election in 2012, that some Crazy Train Rethug is going to get elected in 2016 no matter who Democrats run.

      "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

      by costello7 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:51:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Electing a "crazy train rethug" in 2012 won't help (0+ / 0-)

        The problem with your logic, which I guess that the NEA not reluctantly support Obama as lesser of two evils, is that in one scenario we might avoid disaster in hopes of brighter future while in other the complete disaster is on us now (election of a GOP extreme Reaganite 2012).

        •  I didn't argue for dumping Obama (0+ / 0-)

          I'm simply talking about historical trends.  Historical trends suggest strongly that Obama is a shoe-in for re-election.  As I suspect a "mainstream" Rethug (specifically Mittens, possibly Thune I suppose) will be on the losing end of that effort, the real nutcase wing of the Rethugs will have the upper hand in 2016--able to argue with a straight face that Rethugs lost in 2008 and 2012 because they weren't right-wing enough.  That'll likely put a Michele Bachmann type in a strong position to get their party's nod in '16--at best, a Christie or Walker.  It won't much matter who the Dems run, if historical trends hold; party fatigue will do its thing and, even if Obama is the greatest thing since sliced bread, that cache isn't likely to transfer over to the Dem nominee (especially since I don't see Biden--who would have the VP thing going for him as Bush senior did--running at that point).

          It takes a lot to derail these larger trends (usually, you'd have to do something big now to change it ten years out).  I don't expect anything to change them.  

          The place to effect change, therefore, is on the local and state level.  It takes a lot less to effect things much more ON THE LOCAL LEVEL.  The IAFF has exactly the right idea.  

          "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

          by costello7 on Mon May 09, 2011 at 08:33:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Carter, Bush argue Obama will lose in 2012. (0+ / 0-)

            Obama's numbers are below 50% which is a sign of a lost election. The bump he got from Bin Laden was small and those go away. Bush Sr had 91% bump from Iraq Oil War I and lost to Clinton.

            The economy is not getting better over the next 16 months, jobs and housing back down, 14 million unemployed will not change significantly in next 16 months.

            Obama's failure to deal with any of nations problems (health care, oil imports/energy, Wall St, Social Security/Medicare) ensures that US will limp into the election in worse or as bad a shape as 2008.

    •  That's not, you know, all one can actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psychodrew

      do.

      It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

      by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:04:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So many trains have left the station (7+ / 0-)

    I am now retired.  But I was a local NEA president, and I can see the logic of trying to stay in the game at some level.  As a government teacher, Teacherkn knows that we have to make compromises before the election.  In the English-speaking world, with winner-take-all elections, it leaves almost every voter thinking, "I'm taking the lesser of two evils."  With Ralph Nader's statement, which could be true in another culture, we have witnessed supreme stupidity: "If you choose the lesser of two evils, you still have evil."

    It will take 50 or more years to rebuild public education after the losses we have taken in the past decade.  But to vote Republican would move us closer to France before 1789.

  •  Excellent point... (7+ / 0-)
    I think the NEA -  and the AFT - should be withholding endorsement in order to get the administration to be willing to truly listen to what teachers have to say.  

    "Corruptio Optima Pessimi" (Corruption of the best is the worst)

    by zenox on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:05:26 AM PDT

  •  I'm an AFT member (12+ / 0-)

    And I can't help but remember unions definitely had the impression that EFCA was a top priority BEFORE Obama was elected. Two and a half years later, we not only have this horrific education agenda, but a pattern of labor being ignored.

    What I find just as significant as the despicable education policies coming from the Obama administration is the failure of this administration as well as the DNC to do ANYTHING to support the protests in Wisconsin. Other than Kucinich, which high profile Democrats even bothered to show up in Wisconsin? I can understand Obama not going there. His appearance would have made the protests about him rather than about the bashing of public employees by Governor Walker. But couldn't at least ONE other Democrat have bothered to show up and offer support to the teachers and public workers in Wisconsin? What a message the absence of Democrats sent to the labor movement!!

    Considering that the majority of teachers in Wisconsin are NEA, this to me is reason enough for NEA leadership to say 'Wait a minute, Mr President. we need to talk before we ask our membership to endorse you'. And if AFT leadership makes this same mistake, I guarantee there will be a membership revolt. And it won't be pretty.

    •  Randi Weingarten (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neaguy, happymisanthropy

      has done much damage in the past couple of years, all but rubber-stamping everything the Deform movement is doing. She has given cover to them -- "Look! The head of the teachers' union supports us!"

      I don't really know much about the politics of AFT, but just based on what I've seen from her, isn't an AFT endorsement for Obama even more of a sure thing than an NEA endorsement?

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe and then again maybe not (0+ / 0-)

        AFT endorsed Hillary first. Then they scrambled to endorse Obama once his nomination was set. So some of the members were only reluctant Obama supporters. For that reason I'm not sure it's a done deal this time.

        You're right about Randi though. So yes, it wouldn't surprise me if she pushed an endorsement through. She really wants to work WITH the Obama administration instead of asking them to work with US. Having that seat at the table is very important to Randi.

        One difference though is that NEA convenes their representative assembly once a year while AFT has a national convention every other year. AFT won't be meeting this summer. NEA will. That's why NEA said they put this endorsement request out now, so they could vote on it in July. On the other hand, AFT wouldn't be able to get a membership vote until July of 2012.

        So I doubt AFT will ask for an early endorsement, like NEA. But yes, endorsing Obama eventually is probably a sure thing.

  •  Big mistake telling a politician they have (12+ / 0-)

    your money, votes, and organization before they've done anything to try and earn it.

    I'm gay and I'm pissed. I'm not giving up, I'm not giving in, I'm not backing down, and I'm not going away. I'm one of the Angry Gays. Deal with it.

    by psychodrew on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:41:45 AM PDT

  •  Reccing this diary b/c... (9+ / 0-)

    this is a perfect example of how not to wield influence.
    No wonder the left gets ignored.

    Why do democratic groups act like this?

    I whip my hair back and forth...

    by dclawyer06 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 06:41:45 AM PDT

    •  they too smart for that unity stuff (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam AZ, CarbonFiberBoy, foufou, SDorn

      Unlike the right who unify to elect more Republicans. We will eviscerate  Democrats who don't think the exact same way that we do.  It's better to have a Republican in office than a democrat that we disagree with. Remember the big liberal cheer that went up when  Blanche Lincoln was defeated.  I suppose that it will be a big day of celebration if the rest of the traitor Dems in the Senate get defeated in 2012.

      The decision by President Barack Obama to launch the assault that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the “gutsiest” calls by any president in recent memory. Brennen

      by Kitty on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:00:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forgive my ambiguous comment... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David Kaib, JesseCW, esquimaux

        But I think you misunderstood.
        I don't think liberal groups should dole out endorsements in advance of any concrete policy to show for it.

        It's a terrible form of negotiating.
        Why not wait a bit and extract promises from the WH and other dems before endorsing?

        Btw, I know someone is gonna run in and go full emo and ask why I want President Palin or ask if I want Dennis Kucinich to primary President Obama?
        I do not.

        I whip my hair back and forth...

        by dclawyer06 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:17:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if Dems have to wait for endorsements till they (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          testvet6778, foufou, SDorn, Lying eyes

          please the people on this board - then it will be a cold day in hell till they get any endorsements at all.

          The decision by President Barack Obama to launch the assault that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the “gutsiest” calls by any president in recent memory. Brennen

          by Kitty on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:42:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Either you don't understand (5+ / 0-)

            what Obama's education policies are doing to public education, or you are ignoring it. Teacherken is not advocating that the NEA hold out for pure left policies.

            It is worth noting that the only domestic policy area in which the R's don't criticize the Obama Administration is education. And it isn't because the Rs are less corporatist on education than they are on any other issue; it's because on this issue the Adminstration has decided to co-inhabit the Dark Side alongside the Rs.

            "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

            by NWTerriD on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:39:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Obama's on the Dark Side? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              foufou, Lying eyes, arpear

              Is that a joke?  Obama loves children and wants them to be the best educated in the world.

              teacherken is revered on this board but his opinion is just that - an opinion.  He has a point of view but so do others.

              My view is that it is self-defeating to constantly "punish" Dems.- but you guys go right on ahead You'll just have to do it without me and many others.

              The decision by President Barack Obama to launch the assault that killed Osama bin Laden was one of the “gutsiest” calls by any president in recent memory. Brennen

              by Kitty on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:03:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is not a conversation about whether (12+ / 0-)

                Barack Obama loves children.

                This is a conversation about whether President Obama is pursuing educational policies which benefit our children.

                It's surprisingly hard to have a reasonable conversation with a person who considers you a cockroach and publicly fantasizes about killing you with neurotoxins.

                by JesseCW on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:07:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  this is not "punishing Obama" (9+ / 0-)

                I am not saying the NEA should refuse to endorse next year, although some here have pointed at the recent example of the IAFF deciding to make a point about their issues being ignored or merely given lip service despite all the work they have done to elect Democrats.

                I am increasingly seeing long-time members, including activists, of the NEA bucking the national leadership.  We are seeing state and local unions going in a different direction.  

                Many of us who are not only members but union activists - remember, I am a lead building rep - are upset that the national leadership seems willing to forgo fighting for issues we believe are incredibly important in order to maintain a seat at the table -  why bother if when you are at the table it is already too late to advocate on behalf of the issues your members think are important?

                There are people who respect me.  I'm not sure anyone here qualifies as being "revered" -  were I to offer that sobriquet to anyone it would be Meteor Blades, not me.

                I am a long-time member of the community.

                Now there are many voices here on education.  When I started I was the only one,.

                There are people here who strongly disagree with me.  There is one person on this thread who has at times been very critical of what I have written, and at other times has been supportive.  That's fine.  We each bring our own perspective.

                In writing this, while I am officially only speaking for myself, I can tell not only by comments here but by the continuing messages I am getting directly that what I have written here touches something with which a lot of people agree.

                Is it even the most important issue facing us in education?  Of course not.

                But it is important, it is significant enough to warrant a serious discussion.

                I wrote what I did to start that discussion.

                Oh, and I have sent the link to this diary directly to top leadership of both NEA and AFT, and will also be tweeting it to the twitter accounts of several in the Dept of Ed.

                I am open about what I believe.  

                Have a nice day.

                "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:12:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (5+ / 0-)
                Obama loves children and wants them to be the best educated in the world.

                As do the millions of men and women in this country who have devoted their entire professional lives to making that happen.

                The difference between those millions, whom we call "teachers," and Obama, is that the teachers understand how this adminstration's policies are hampering the achievement of that goal, and are instead promoting the interests of those who literally want to end public education in this country and turn it into a for-profit venture.

                "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

                by NWTerriD on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:55:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  "We will eviscerate Democrats (6+ / 0-)

        who don't think the exact way that we do" is a far cry from "progressives ran a single primary against one (or a handful of) terrible corporate Democrat."  

        More importantly, Republican unity is premised on everyone being disciplined into being a conservative, which they achieved through a number of means, including a much more aggressive use of primaries against insufficiently conservative candidates.   If you want to hold up the Republicans as a model, then we need more efforts to pressure Dems, not less.

  •  I agree (5+ / 0-)
    I think the NEA -  and the AFT - should be withholding endorsement in order to get the administration to be willing to truly listen to what teachers have to say.  

    There is no one currently running for president who will help change all that is wrong (and so much is wrong). In fact, I believe we might as well endorse Goldman Sachs, or GE and the MIC corporations, or ...well, that's who's running things.

    Obama at this point is "the lesser evil." Not by enough, methinks. Read this for a cogent analysis of this sloppy, deleterious way of thinking (lesser of evils).

    http://www.counterpunch.org/...

    It's time to get serious, people. Things are going to get much worse unless we stop thinking that by electing the burglar instead of the murderer that we are doing the right thing.

    •  counterpunch article is superb (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JuliaAnn

      Levine is spot on.

      thanks

      "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

      by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:31:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  from that link, this phrase nails it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JuliaAnn
        Lesser evilism is ultimately illogical because lesser evil choices can and do affect future choices in ways that make the lesser evil down the road worse than the greater evil now is.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:50:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  NEA or AFT member support? (5+ / 0-)

    Obama will need boots on the ground and an excited base.  How will a mere endorsement translate to that?  Here in Wisconsin we just had a victory against an estimated 10:1 money advantage in a special election.

    Money is fine, but supporters who think the candidate is really in their corner and are excited about his policies mean much more than cash.  

    Real support and activism will come from policies that favor the views of AFT and NEA members and answer the needs of students, parents and taxpayers.

    The NEA should come out with a bold, progressive agenda and make monetary support for local, state and federal candidates conditional.  Educators should stop playing defense and generate what offense we can, then keep fighting.  

    •  sure we had a victory but (0+ / 0-)

      it was electoral, not about ideas.

      As winner Steve Doyle told the Wisconsin State Journal, the voters whose doors he knocked on agreed with a lot of Scott Walker's agenda, just not how he was doing it.

      So, it's not really much of a victory in terms of shifting opinion in Wisconsin.   Walker has control of the budget debate there.   Teachers and other public workers will see significant pay cuts this year and for the foreseeable future even as Wisconsin businesses see record profits.

      This is because unions blew the framing.   They had a chance to educate with all eyes on them, about the real economic realities.  Instead, they said, we've agreed to the demands in the budget bill.  

      "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

      by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am one of those losing $ and I believe ... (0+ / 0-)

        .... Whoever was governor would have had to cut, cut, cut.   Walker is not even really putting the state into a better financial position as he pushes his agenda.  His approach has penalized those with the lowest salaries the most - not fairly sharing the pain.  His approach has alienated a whole class of people, many of his own voters.  

        The fact that those who support adjusting state spending do not agree with how he went about it is a testament the fact he lied to the electorate by massive omission.  Union leaders and Democrats will have the chance to educate the electorate during the recalls.  How we handle the propaganda and our citizens hear the massive right wing messaging during the next few months will determine our state's future.    

  •  Pretty short sighted, if you ask me. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, rpj2004, foufou, arpear, geojumper

    How many Secretary of Educations stay along for a full 8 years?

    And you don't want the union to have a voice in picking the next one?

    In any case, there's a way to give a qualified endorsement, versus an unqualified one.

    But, do what you want.

    Hope you enjoy your vouchers.

    Ideology is an excuse to ignore common sense.

    by Bush Bites on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:16:53 AM PDT

  •  Teachers as best resources (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NWTerriD, neaguy, happymisanthropy

    What a concept: that those who are actually in the classroom teaching kids would have any idea how to improve doing it.

    I taught for over 30 years and remain baffled as to how this simple fact is so consistently ignored by administrators and politicians. Top down management simply doesn't work very well in education.

  •  Leverage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib, JanL, neaguy

    I agree Ken. Endorsing now is too soon.

    Our strength is in our knowledge of our profession. A seat at the table that does not recognize this is useless.

    Imagination is more important than knowledge. Albert Einstein

    by michael in chicago on Sun May 08, 2011 at 07:37:01 AM PDT

  •  At least ONE union has seen the light (IAFF) (7+ / 0-)

    And I can see a few more following..if all you're going to get is being called "stupid" for trying to primary a conserva-dem (and have Obama actually fly in and campaign AGAINST YOU-Hi Blanche), policies that are designed to undercut public education by privatizing it with charters and vouchers, ridiculous standardizations and "superman films", appointees from Dems that are failures and lie, cheat and steal (Rhee), why give them a pre-emptory endorsement?  Please, sir, may I have another?

    •  To be fair to the Obama administration... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou

      ...while they have (very wrongly, in my opinion as a DCer) praised Michelle Rhee, they couldn't have been involved in Fenty's appointment of her, which happened in 2007.

      The administration also didn't take any side at all in what amounted to a "primary challenge" to Rhee, when Vincent Gray beat Adrian Fenty in the mayoral election. (Technically it was the Democratic primary for mayor, but for all practical intents and purposes, after that election Gray was Mayor-Elect in all but name.)

      There were, of course, other issues in play with the Gray/Fenty primary—not the least of which were racial and cultural tensions—but Rhee was a major factor. And it was pretty well understood by DC voters (and undoubtedly by the administration) that Rhee wouldn't stay on under Vincent Gray. Nevertheless the administration (wisely) stayed out of the election.

    •  And, for a little NY teacher activism, see this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, neaguy
  •  Thanks Ken... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias

    This seems like a panic move, perhaps?  I know our LEA (in Ohio) is in negotiations to get a new contract before our current one expires this summer.  I dread to think what will be in the new contract, quite frankly.  Many if not most of our teachers feel we'll all be working for less, with more pressure for scores and larger class sizes...and are more or less apathetic and beat down. Our morale could not be lower, unless we were all fired en masse - and many feel like that wouldn't be a surprise.
    This does not translate to donations, boots on the ground, or a unified, national groundswell at this time and I can't imagine what the NEA leadership is thinking in making this decision this early - except to signal the R's, who almost certainly know they will not have our support, hardly a surprise.
    Thanks for writing about this...I'll be sending a donation to the Save Our Schools cause next payday.  

    Think what you are doing today. -Fred Rogers

    by JanL on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:03:13 AM PDT

  •  Wow, these anti-Obama diaries (7+ / 0-)

    sure do attract the odd comment.

    Let me think about this for a moment. So the question is whether or not Democrats should support Obama for reelection? If Obama doesn't accede to our demands by doing blank, then we won't support him. Is that what's being said here?

    If so, what's the "blank?" So we ignore Congress and assume that Obama is a dictator and will do whatever some minority on the left want done so then he'll get their support? Is that how this works? So Obama doesn't fire Duncan, and doesn't get support from some Democrats? Is that how it works? Well, I don't think it works that way. I would like someone to show me exactly this has worked out for them in the past. Negotiating position? Yeah, that's real good. We'll just hold a gun on our foot and tell Obama that if he doesn't so x-and-such, we're going to pull the trigger. Doesn't anyone see that as an absolutely insane negotiating position?

    Or is that preceding paragraph off the mark, and the question is, as some commenters seem to think, simply when we give him our support? Just the timing of it? Look, the Republicans are some dangerous mfos. They are actively pushing fascism on our country. I want as few of them elected as we can manage. I certainly don't want a Republican president.

    Therefore, I hold that the only sensible thing to do is to support Obama's reelection and to do so as soon as possible. The more time we spend working to elect Democrats, the more likely their election will be. We want as many precincts to vote Obama as possible, in the hope that his coattails will carry many Dems to state and national office.

    Evidently the NEA grassroots and leadership feel the same way. According to the diarist, it was state presidents who pushed it on the national. I don't know about NEA state politics, but in other organizations I find the state level folks follow the grassroots fairly closely. Is the diarist alleging that the state presidents have gone off on their own and are going against their locals?

    Or what is being alleged? I guess that they're just wrong and we know better? Or is this just about getting our personal chops in and we don't give a good goddamn about the future of the country? Yeah, let's support Nader. That'll pull the Dems to the left.

    Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:05:19 AM PDT

    •  This is NOT an anti-Obama diary (15+ / 0-)

      this is focused on one issue -  whether, contrary to all precedent, the NEA should be endorsing a presidential candidate the year prior to the election cycle?

      I have presented the reasoning that as far as I know is being used by the NEA hierarchy

      I am presenting a contrary point of view

      No where in this diary have I said that the NEA should not endorse Obama eventually

      No where have I suggested endorsing a 3rd party candidate

      your apparent unwillingness to listen to what are to many of us in education reasoned concerns and arguments totally undercuts any criticism you think you may be tossing in our direction

      in the old 0-4 rating system of comments, your comment would be rated either a 1 or a 2.  

      No, it is not hideworthy and I do not want to see people respond with that.

      But it is totally unproductive, and totally non-responsive to the actual content of the diary.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:10:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In my comment are six paragraphs. (0+ / 0-)

        Nowhere does your response address any of them. I'm trying to figure out where you're coming from.

        I don't give a crap how you might rate my comment. I'm not in it for the mojo. I want to figure our what you are trying to accomplish.

        My unwillingness? I read the diary. I can't figure out what it says, what it wants done different, other than what I ask in my comment.

        If you don't want to respond to any of the six paragraphs, I can understand that. But it doesn't help your case any.

        You don't make a single argument against any of what I have said. Why is that?

        Here's the simple deal. I'm sorry if this can be taken to sound insulting, because it doesn't have to be. Say one wants to support a candidate. One gives them money. That's what supporting them means in today's political economy. You don't give them money, that's called not supporting them. People who give them money get influence. That's called getting access. If one wants to influence them and gain access, one supports them.

        All the important stuff happens after the election, when the folks who support the candidate call in their chits. That's the reason they support the candidate. The more support, the bigger the chit. If one doesn't support the candidate, no chit, no place at the table. The places at the table aren't decided before the support. That's backwards of how it works. All you have to do it look at who gave what and what the elected did after to see that in action. I hope we all understand that.

        The elected doesn't change position before the election to acquire the support. The elected, if they have any brains, already knows before the election exactly how to position themselves to get the votes they need to get elected. If they're on our side, we hope they get that right. If they're on the other side, we hope they get that wrong. We hope those on our side have that figured, so any pressure by us to change that position is counterproductive. After all, nothing happens until after the election.

        As I said in my comment, to which you did not respond, name me one favorable electoral result that was obtained by doing it the opposite way, i.e. refusing to support the candidate until the candidate changes position.

        One might take the Clinton heath care debacle as a case in point. Who knew that Bill Clinton's early money was from health insurers? Who could have expected that would influence how he would propose to change the health care system? Did Clinton change his position ahead of the election to a more insurer friendly position to get that money? I don't think so.

        Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why we win. -Syriana

        by CarbonFiberBoy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 04:30:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's a lot of straw men. (0+ / 0-)

      How many horses had to starve so you could make those ridiculous arguments?

      They didn't take baby steps when they saved the Rich.

      by Whimsical Rapscallion on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:26:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wouldn't react this way (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, foufou, loblolly, Lying eyes

    What is most important to me is the value the President places on education.  I also see that he is looking to bring that emphasis to every socio-economic and cultural part of our country, bar none.  I have watched how young people respond to his encouragement and vision for their capacities and future contributions.  I also see his modeling of ethics, empathy, excellence, evidence-based and representative leadership.  Viewing oneself with self-respect and empowerment makes every student more ready to absorb the formal and incidental learning that becomes available to them.

    Our President can do more to help set the sights of young people on a vision of accomplishment and service because of the kind of person he is than can ever be quantified.

    •  evidenced based? (4+ / 0-)

      Charter schools: don't work.
      Merit pay: doesn't work.
      Mayoral takeover: fail.
      Value added: voodoo education.

      Obama likes all of these.  None are successful according to the research base.

      Now, that's some role model president.  Of course, I know, most kids don't look at the analysis having learned in our star culture to adore celebrity so they most likely aren't going to realize that the charismatic Obama isn't actually basing anything on evidence.

      "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

      by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:43:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What the President seems to like (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lying eyes, foufou

        is the young people themselves.  If they see themselves through his eyes they can see their beauty, their grit, their value.  I have read that pretty much every system has a chance of working when children know their teachers truly care about them.  Strict, relaxed, old school, new school, home school.  What else seems to work quite well no matter all other factors is love.  The President demonstrates that over and over again.  Charisma is not the same thing as genuine self sacrifice, true empathy, living ones values, respecting others even those you disagree with.  That's what I see in him.

        I do think the President is evidence based and not ideological.  That doesn't mean he has all the answers, never will err, will be able to single handedly solve all problems.  He is the kind of leader we need and should take lessons from.  If we all step up in the same way he has we can change our world.

  •  I'm of two minds here, Teacher Ken (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SDorn, Lying eyes, happymisanthropy

    On the one hand, I want to agree with you that holding the endorsement back as leverage for influence is the better path for the NEA.

    On the other, I can't ignore Obama's obvious distaste for conflict and fight.  I can imagine the possibility that an NEA failure to endorse him would raise hackles and cause adverse reaction.  I'm thinking of how the administration appeared to react to opposition to its ultimate approach to health care reform. When we who would be his friends stood against him, we became personae non gratae. He doesn't seem to take well to opposition from "within" and the NEA certainly should be "within" given the alternatives available.

    There just might be a valid argument for joining up quickly in order to be clearly inside the tent rather than pesky opposition on the outside making demands.  He doesn't seem to like that outsider approach by those he should be able to count on.

    The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. --- Thomas Jefferson

    by Alice Olson on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:22:08 AM PDT

    •  the only issue is whether to endorse him NOW (5+ / 0-)

      had the NEA not moved in this direction, no one would have raised any questions, because historically this is a year early.  Yes, were there a contested primary for the Democratic nomination, there might be some relevance in weighing in, presuming all the players were declared.

      Had nothing been done now, it in no way would have undercut support for Obama.

      By moving towards endorsement now, it undercuts the ability of all of us to try to move educational policy in a more constructive direction than what we have been seeing.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:39:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  NEA state presidents made a practical decision (8+ / 0-)

    I'm retired now, but I was an NEA local president for four long years, and was a delegate to both state and national conventions.   NEA state presidents, who, after all are elected by their members, have made a practical decision. The resolution to endorse President Obama still has to be voted on by the some 10,000 delegates to the national RA in July. If you have never attended an NEA state or national convention, let me assure you that there will be a lot of debate on the floor about this resolution to endorse Obama  now instead of waiting until July, 2012, but it will ultimately pass.

    From years of personal experience organizing teachers, I can testify that it takes lots of time to mobilize the feet on the ground necessary to elect our chosen candidates. Trying to do this in July when members are scattered on summer vacations, or worse yet in September when teachers are overwhelmed with the start of school is nearly impossible. By the time efforts on the ground can be mobilized the election is upon us.

    The Obama administration saved the jobs of thousands of teachers with the stimulus. There is also still the possibility of fixing  the so-called No Child Left Behind Law.

    For 2012 there really is no alternative to Obama, and this early endorsement gives local leaders time to organize a highly effective get out the vote campaign.

    While I don't like Arne Duncan or Rtt very much, we have still come a long way from the days when Rod Paige was Secretary  of Education, and famously called the NEA a "terrorist organization. Paige resigned after the scandals behind his "Houston miracle"surfaced. His successor, Margaret Spellings, generated her own controversies, beginning with the "Postcards from Buster" episode, in which she objected to PBS using government funds to produce a series in which a same sex couple appeared because " many parents would not want their young children exposed to the lifestyles portrayed in this episode."

    Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

    by loblolly on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:28:02 AM PDT

    •  There are many alternatives (3+ / 0-)
      For 2012 there really is no alternative to Obama, and this early endorsement gives local leaders time to organize a highly effective get out the vote campaign.

      There may well be no alternatives for president, but there are alternatives - there are local and state races, races for the House of Representatives and the Senate, not to mention non-electoral means of pursuing change.  The decision to focus on the presidential level needs to be defended - but too often it is just assumed.

      •  State & local races, Congressional races (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou, Lying eyes

        When I was an NEA member, we always made endorsements at the local level, and at the state convention for many state races and congressional races. Endorsing Obama now doesn't change any of the influence on state and local races.

        Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

        by loblolly on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:22:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  yes we've come along way (0+ / 0-)

      farther, down the same road.

      Duncan said, fire all the Rhode Island high school teachers.

      Or, did you forget.

      "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

      by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:45:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama, not Duncan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        It was Obama in March 2010 who implicitly endorsed Supt. Frances Gallo's attempted end-run around collective bargaining in Central Falls, RI. That wasn't Duncan and it wasn't all the high school teachers in the state.

        The details matter here because this is precisely to your question of whether a union can effectively oppose actions by an administration it supports in an electoral sense: AFT backed the Central Falls teachers publicly (AFT is the local's national affiliate). The national union leadership stood up and opposed an action supported by the president they had endorsed.

  •  so you're saying they should make a big show (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loblolly, foufou, taylormattd

    of waiting to endorse, then endorse?  like, for the optics of it?  no matter what they get in return?

    anyway.  I'm more interested in what the rank-and-file says about this.  I have about 10 close friends who are teachers, about half are hardcore supporters of the president, the rest I'd call nominal supporters.  (what can I say, Phily is DEEP blue) I'll ask them about their reactions.

    "Wake the town and tell the people!" ~Ewart Beckford, O.D.

    by mallyroyal on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:34:22 AM PDT

  •  NEA one of my worst enemies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JuliaWilliams

    as a unionized classroom teacher.

    They are working hand in hand with the business model education reformers (Klein, Duncan, Gates, Rhee, Bloomberg, Obama, et. al.) to strangle my creativity and innovation and professionalism and the intrinsic motivation, engagement and initiative of my students.

    When the anti worker governor here in Wisconsin takes away most of my rights next week, I will likely quit union membership in NEA, WEAC, and my local union.   There will simply be no reason to be affiliated with groups that force more bureaucracy and standardized testing on me and also agree that teachers should shoulder more of the burden that was created by corporations.

    "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

    by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:43:55 AM PDT

    •  We hang together, or separately. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou, SDorn, happymisanthropy, arpear

      I'm joining up even though my union (university) will be out the door once the budget bill passes.

      Stick with it, please.

      RECOUNT. RECALL. RESCIND. REBUILD. Now with 4 R's.

      by stcroix cheesehead on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:07:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my union is deprofessionalizing me (0+ / 0-)

        WEAC  just loves standardized testing. They can't stop crowing about it.

        That's helping the other side.

        What I do is more important than a corporate test.  WEAC doesn't think so.

        They could promote the other, better measures of accountability that are classroom based and have been proven around the country to better support innovative teacher, engaged learning, higher graduation rates, and higher rates of college graduation.

        But no, they stick with the business model, numbers only accountability system.

        Even though parents prefer the other model.  

        Even though it's deprofessionalizing our teacher corps.

        "It turns out, by the way, that oil rigs today generally don't cause spills. They are technologically very advanced." 4-2-10 Obama's George Bush moment

        by neaguy on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:48:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I in no way support (4+ / 0-)

    Obama's education platform. But I do support Obama. Is their any advantage to getting to the table early? Can the NEA have more of a say in policy if they jump in with both feet early rather than hold their support and demand change?

    Just some questions. I don't know the answers.

    “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark

    by in2mixin on Sun May 08, 2011 at 08:59:39 AM PDT

    •  I think they're good questions, at least for me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foufou, loblolly, in2mixin

      because I wondered the same things. The questions raised in the diary seem to be about two things: mainly it's about the tactics or "negotiating strategy" of the NEA endorsement of Obama for re-election. The idea being that they could influence policy more by holding out, even though everyone knows they will endorse him eventually. The only question is whether it will be this year or next year.

      I don't think waiting would give them any kind of increased power. Pretending to "hold out" when it's a given that you will be in later, is not a strong negotiating position. Any threat to withhold support has to be real or it's meaningless. Making fake threats is not a strong way to begin a negotiation.

      And that raises the question of the whole dynamics of treating it like a negotiation. Basically there is no 'negotiation' if your 'opponent' (which is what you'd have to consider someone you're negotiating with) knows you will not actually withhold your endorsement or support another candidate. If you are in a coalition and will be on board, then there's no real negotiating for your support. So the best strategy in my opinion is to make that clear from the beginning, be as effective as possible as a supporter, and influence policy from within.

      But that gets to the other question that some have raised in these comments, which is the actual goals of the NEA itself, and if they in fact do support a corporatist approach to education that is destructive. As a national organization, what are their purposes and goals? I really do not know. Maybe they do not 'negotiate' for a different policy because they actually are in support of the administration's approach? That would be a whole different discussion.

      But as far as the concepts being discussed re negotiation in exchange for support, versus the strategy of being on-board as a member of the Obama reelection coalition, starting now, to allow time for the membership to organize, I think the latter is a better approach. There's nothing to be gained by waiting.

      Since the options for endorsement appear to be only 'now' -- i.e., this summer, or waiting until one full year from now, which would be only months before the election, it seems there are better reasons for early endorsement than for waiting.

      •  An early endorsement may actually give more clout (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CS in AZ, foufou, arpear

        It doesn't seem to me that holding out on the endorsement of Obama until it is virtually meaningless ( July of 2012) is  going to give NEA more influence.

        The actions by Republican governors and state legislatures to kill public employee unions are why it is important for public employee unions like NEA to gear up now for the 2012 election campaign.

        Rachel Maddow explains:  the only three groups able to match fundraising by the right are the NEA, SEIU, and AFSME.

        Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

        by loblolly on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:38:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not in this case (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          aliasalias

          the likes of Jim Messina, who is officially running the campaign, can use such an endorsement to shut off any issues that might be inconvenient for their raising of money etc.  I've seen it happen before in such situations.

          Look, if an early endorsement were giving a candidate momentum s/he might otherwise have, then it gives leverage.

          When they know you will not endorse their opponent, then the only question is if you will endorse, and when, and with what level of commitment.  Once you have made that commitment you have surrendered any bargaining position you otherwise might have had.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:00:18 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You going to sit on the sidelines, Ken, (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foufou, loblolly, Lying eyes, GlowNZ, arpear

    when the Republicans nominate someone who doesn't believe in evolution, science, or the Constitution?

    You name one of them that won't pander to the illiterate religionists.

    •  we are talking about now (4+ / 0-)

      not the hypothetical of what may or may not happen next year.

      In the meantime the issue of reauthorization of ESEA is still current, which is why we need leverage to minimize the destructiveness possible in reauthorization.

      My criticism is of the decision for NEA to move to endorse NOW at a time when the administration's stated positions and actions on education have been at a minimum problematic.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:18:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  NEA By-Laws don't offer much choice on timing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou

        According to the NEA by-laws, the formal endorsement requires a vote by delegates at the RA. That either can either come this July, assuming the delegates to the RA this summer vote for the state president's resolution  , or it will have to wait until the next RA in July of 2012.

        Given the limits on the timing of getting an endorsement from the RA, and what is going on across the country as Republicans try to dismantle public employee unions, I think NEA is making the right decision to get into the battle for 2012 now.

        Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented.- Molly Ivins

        by loblolly on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:08:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't, nor do those of my members (0+ / 0-)

          from whom I have heard.  They point out that they would not begin to be active in the Presidential campaign until next summer anyhow.  

          And it is not as if the NEA is going to be contributing an amount of money that would make any kind of difference now.  The Obama campaign has a target of 1 billion or so.  It expects absolutely no problems with cash flow.  

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:17:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  and speaking of the Constitution (2+ / 0-)

      I seem to remember a candidate who argued that as a Constitutional Law professor he knew, respected and followed the Constitution. But we find his Justice Department continuing some of the absurd arguments of the Bush administration table.

      I also remember a President who said the negotiations on health care would be on CSpan.  Hmm, what about the backroom deals cut with the pharmaceutical manufacturers to keep them from publicly opposing?

      Sorry, but I think we have every right to demand better.  On education I think I have been consistent even back to the primaries, where one reason I was not an early Obama supporter was precisely the weakness of his positions on education.

      I have supported him when I believe he was right, and have on occasion found myself slammed for it, here.

      On education, I will continue to try to change those policies I think are wrong.  

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:03:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So - the NEA and AFT could take one lesson (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neaguy, Maikeru Ronin, aliasalias

    from the Repubs - threaten to withhold an endorsement until we get what we want.  It's pretty clear we want the following:
    - Get rid of Arne Duncan
    - reduction not increase in number of charter schools
    - less emphasis on testing programs such as NCLB or RTTT
    - no merit pay (because who REALLY decides based on what criteria?)
    - don't mess with our long fought for rights to tenure, collective bargaining and academic freedom
    - educating our young should be the nation's #1 priority
    - just a little more respect for our profession

    Together our two unions are the largest labor force in the country.  Many of us have negotiated contracts and know that we have great leverage if appied at the correct fulcrum.  We would never endorse the Republicans but the President cannot afford to have us withhold our endorsement of him.

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." A. Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:33:12 AM PDT

  •  huh? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loblolly, foufou, Lying eyes, taylormattd
    It is hard to imagine anyone arising from the Republican field who will be better than Obama on public education.

    exactly.  so given that the likelihood of anyone primarying obama is next to nil, why is this endorsement problematic?

    It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

    by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:53:25 AM PDT

    •  Did you read the entire diary? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias

      Have you read any of the comments?

      On education this administration did not even listen to its own allies in the House, and I think it is arrogant of the NEA to believe that having already given away its biggest single card -  endorsement - it will therefore achieve any more leverage or influence in its dealings with this administration.

      Seems pretty clear to me.

      AKA Big Tex *** If Barack Obama is the only adult in the room, then it must be his fault that the drapes are on fire and the cat's been shaved.

      by Maikeru Ronin on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:36:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sigh, you just don't get it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, denise b

      endorsing now with the policies of this administration on education is the equivalent of taking a whipping and saying "thank you may I please have another?"

      There is real anger among the rank and file on a lot of policies of this administration on education.

      There is, and there should be, opposition on key parts of what this administration is proposing on education policy.

      The question then is how best to influence that policy in a positive fashion for the benefit of students -  and quite frankly, that means understanding and properly supporting teachers.

      Given an endorsement now gains nothing with the political operation of the forthcoming campaign -  why would Jim Messina or the Davids even worry when they have the endorsement in their pocket?  Now the question is whether there will even be lip service to key issues that matter greatly to educators.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:40:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i just don't get it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou, loblolly

        nice.

        The question then is how best to influence that policy in a positive fashion for the benefit of students -  and quite frankly, that means understanding and properly supporting teachers.

        exactly.  and i don't think this endorsement has anything to do with that goal. because for 2012, the race is between obama and a republican.  and that's just that.

        and it's simply inarguable that obama/dems are better on education than whoever the republicans will offer up.  i.e., if you think duncan's bad...

        expressing dissatisfaction is only tangentially related to/a function of endorsement. the NEA can do that 'til the cows come home in spite of the endorsement, if they wish.

        Given an endorsement now gains nothing with the political operation of the forthcoming campaign -  why would Jim Messina or the Davids even worry when they have the endorsement in their pocket?  Now the question is whether there will even be lip service to key issues that matter greatly to educators.

        and with the GOP, there isn't even the hope of lip service.

        and seriously:  would you have the NEA endorse a republican?  do you think they would, given the current crop?  by what mechanism does withholding an endorsement achieve policy goals?

        It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

        by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 02:36:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  i'm not even saying (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        loblolly

        that no one should be upset.  i know teachers know better than the rest of us what works and what doesn't.  and i know too many teachers to think our system is sound right now.

        i just don't see that this endorsement precludes criticism of education policy.  raise the roof!  by all means.  

        but NEA the entity is in the unfortunate position of having to maintain a public face.  and are they really going to go all guerilla and issue scathing press releases about why they haven't (yet) endorsed obama?  because, sad to say, that's what it would take for withholding an endorsement to mean anything.  imHo, of course.  

        it's also a national organization, which means not everyone is going to agree with you or the other members with whom you regularly converse.  maybe the NEA feels they're being appropriately representative?

        anyhoo, i just think that given the big picture landscape, this endorsement isn't the lost opportunity it seems.  because it was kind of a foregone conclusion.  delaying it seems completely pointless.  i could see the fun in exploring the idea of no endorsement whatsoever, but as i said above, that takes some serious hardball to achieve anything.

        on the other hand, they can endorse, thereby acquiring a gigantic platfrom from which to speak their grievances.  i think that would garner much more/better media attention.  an endorsement that presents a thoughtful critique with ideas for improvement versus an announcement that from the outset must take a position of justification/defense of a decision made?  

        i think the endorsement gets the bigger prize in the media narrative, for sure.  and ultimately, this kind of stuff won't be changed unless enough normal people understand what's going on.  america needs to realize that teachers and education are the greatest investment we could ever make.  too bad we're so stupid.

        sorry for spazzing out earlier.

        It's complicated. - Desperate Housewives

        by Cedwyn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 09:34:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ken, have you written to Arne Duncan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Maikeru Ronin

    or tried to contact his Deputy Secretary Tony Miller? Or even his the Interim Director of Race to the Top Joe Conaty?

    I hope your writings are getting to them. If not I would hope that you consider writing or contacting them directly.

    Your voice needs to be heard.

    This is a crisis I knew had to come, Destroying the balance I'd kept. Doubting, unsettling and turning around, Wondering what will come next.
    --Ian Curtis

    by jethrock on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:00:17 AM PDT

    •  Oh, people at Dept of Ed are aware of me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jethrock, aliasalias

      some of the tweets on my posts and sometimes the links for my post have been sent by others directly to key players in the Department of Education as well as some in the White House.

      During the 2008 campaign I was told directly by a top-ranking political official of the campaign that they were well aware of what I write on education.

      I have had one time when they messed up their handling of a couple of conference calls with teachers that someone in the Department reached out to me and had a phone conversation.

      But my sense of this Department of Education, and those key people within the WH dealing with education, is that they really do not want to hear voices that disagree with them.  That is not just my experience, it is the near universal experience of several dozen people ranging from federal electeds to nationally known figures (and I do not include myself in that category) to a lot of people in between.  

      That is why in the Dear Secretary Duncan I was so forceful on the need for Duncan and his people to listen to us, not merely try to persuade us to their point of view.  That presumes we do not understand their policy and if only they explain it better we will be convinced, when the reality is we do understand it, which is why we oppose it and maybe just maybe they should let go of their preconceptions and listen to what we have to say.

      So far the occasions of real listening have been rare, and usually only occur when they realize they have just smeared egg all over their faces.

      I have watched some of the top people in the Department at various public events. I have read what they have written.

      I am also aware that the background of too many for my taste are from the "reform" movement of the like of the Gates and Broad foundations.

      DOE knows who I am.

      I am not hard to find.

      If they really wanted to listen to me, they know how to get in touch with me.

      Similarly, top leadership of both unions know who I am, and know how to reach out to me.

      At one point NEA was going to propose a panel for NN11 that was going to include their VP Lily Eskelsen, Diane Ravitch and me, until I told them that I already knew Diane already had another commitment, and I did not know if I was going to attend.

      Look, it is not that my personal voice matters.  I am one teacher/blogger, to whom some people pay attention.  Knowing that can sometimes get me in the door - I get invited to a lot of events on education, most of which I do not attend because it means taking time away from teaching.  It gets me in the door to at least talk with Congressional staff, and in a few cases with the electeds themselves.

      It is not that I have to be heard.  There are many articulate teachers writing/blogging on such issues -  let me offer a batch of names -  Joe Bowers, Chad Ratliffe, Kirsten Olsen, Nancy Flanagan, Ariel Sacks, Jose Luis Vilson, Anthony  Cody, Renee Moore, Adam Burk, Joe Thomas, Susan Graham, Katy Farber, former National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen (who had trouble getting heard even when he was NTOY), David Cohen, Jonathan Halabi, Steve Lazar, Doug Noon, . . .  I could name dozens.  

      Did you know that the twitter account for the Press Secretary for the Dept of Ed did not as of several days ago follow a single nationally known teacher blogger?  

      So I do what I do because I care.  If they will listen to the likes of Renee or Nancy or the others, I would be quite happy.

      Me?  I am just someone who can occasionally make a little noise and raise a little hell.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 10:57:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for your lengthy and very informative (0+ / 0-)

        response.

        I haven't followed or read much of the teachers/writers/bloggers you mentioned. As a matter of fact I haven't followed the issue of education much since I've been out of school and don't have any children yet.

        I do read as much of what you and others write here on the subject as I can. As well as a few other sites. Especially in the past couple of years.

        Thanks again for making the "noise" and raising the hell you do.

        Cheers

        This is a crisis I knew had to come, Destroying the balance I'd kept. Doubting, unsettling and turning around, Wondering what will come next.
        --Ian Curtis

        by jethrock on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:17:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe pointless (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loblolly, foufou, Lying eyes, GlowNZ
    I worry that once the endorsement is finalized, this administration will have even less reason to listen
     

    While I understand the desire to try to hold some leverage over the administration here, I don't think there is really anyone who would see that play as anything but a bluff.  Not necessarily a great strategy when you're going against a poker champion like Obama.  

    I share your frustrations with the administration on education policy.  But I think aggressive advocacy of policy, as a general approach, will be more fruitful in the long run in dealing with this administration.  I know it's a double standard because we're his supporters and his opponents get leverage in opposition.  It seems unfair.  But I believe that in spite of the way it injures our pride or is even counter-intuitive at times, that's the better approach.  

    Forget it, he's rolling.

    by Sun dog on Sun May 08, 2011 at 11:15:03 AM PDT

    •  you better check his cardplaying history (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sun dog

      when he was in the Illinois legislature, he was not a very good poker player.

      And you presume that the NEA will inevitably endorse anyhow, so why not now.

      First, there is the marker already laid down by IAFF.

      Second, there are other unions making noises about their unhappiness.

      Were they unhappy enough, NEA and AFT could decide not to endorse at all.  That possibility exists.  Remember that not all those who participate in Representative Assemblies at any level are necessarily Dems.  I know that my Faculty Advisory Council is somewhat politically diverse.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:20:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, I'm talking meta (0+ / 0-)

        If I was sitting there, in on the endorsement decision, I'm sure it would require more consideration than the gut feeling I'm going on here.  But as a general approach, I believe this is an administration that it's better to go all in with even as you clamor for what is right.  Fight for public opinion and win the administration as much as possible.  

        As for the card player thing;  Poker is about the long game and it looks like he's sitting with a pretty big pile of chips by now.  He's certainly got the prowess to spot a bluff.  Unfortunately, calling bluffs from the his base seems to be all too easy.  But it's because that's the nature of the game when the opposition party is so toxic.  

        That's what makes that kind of approach seem like a waste of energy to me.  Go after public opinion as much as resources allow and then some.  You win the battle there and you win the administration.  

        Forget it, he's rolling.

        by Sun dog on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:53:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Obama Powerless Before Corporate profit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Indiana Bob

    Face it, the country is being strangled by the new corporate paradigm which Obama supports.

    Corporations are citizens, and some citizens are more equal than others. Average Americans are being crushed next to the super citizens

  •  Ken, you need to get over yourself. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taylormattd, arpear, foufou

    Ken,
    I read your posts frequently and with great interest and I get where you are coming from but...and this is a big but...we really don't have any options during this next election. Holding up an endorsement won't make us any more powerful with the dems, and won't increase our standing with the Republicans. The Republican party is committed, as a party, to the utter destruction of public education.  Obama could be the worst democrat in history--which needless to say he is not--and he would still be better for teachers and for students than any republican.

    There has been a ton of discussion online and in the real world about the clash between old white liberals and new non white voters and democrats.  So I hope you will forgive me for cutting to the chase. This kind of foot dragging and back biting and bitching about your unions decision to back the obvious candidate smacks of white liberal ressentiment at not getting to call the shots politically.  Not because you are white, or I am white, but because of the privilige assumed by your post--the privilige to dictate policy to your union and to the country at large based on your very narrow reading of the public good.

    President Obama has plenty of faults and drawbacks as a president. But he is literally and definitively the best we can do as democrats and as progressives at this time. There will be no other candidate on the liberal side who can beat him. They can only damage him. And his enemies to the right can beat him and damage us.  Siding with the enemy is aiding the enemy. Hanging back from this struggle is short sighted and meanspirited. To me it reads as selfish and petty.

    You've got real grievances and goals? So do the rest of us. None of our goals can be achieved under Republican rule. some of our goals can be achieved from the position of being inside the tent.  That's about the size of it.

    aimai

  •  Ken, I'm with you on everything but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bsegel

    ... the part about charter schools.

    I believe that the caps do need to be lifted. At the same time, I would advocate putting stricter regulations and parameters in place regarding how such schools should be funded and run.

    If you look at the performance of charter schools as a whole it is true that the results are less than satisfactory. However, there are indeed public charters -- NOT for-profit and deep-pockets financed -- that are doing amazing things... they are truly partnerships between the students, teachers, parents, and the community-at-large. (That is to say, charters as Albert Shanker visualized.)

    Where I live, there is such a charter (high school); it is outperforming every local high school on any criterion you wish to name. The school admits by lottery and does not exclude either learning- or physically-disabled students. The dropout rate is negligible; 100% of the graduating class for the past few years has gone on to a 4 year college or university (and for more than a third of the class, the student is the first in his or her family to go to college). The teachers are more committed than I have ever seen, and the students respond accordingly.

    The school has been so popular it has spawned three sister schools in the area, with more on the drawing board. The new schools are seeded by teachers from the existing school -- no "professional administrators" here. (Indeed, much the administrative work is performed by parents on a volunteer basis.)

    And yet... it was a battle to get the charter in the first place. If the state were allowed to impose caps, such schools would die.

    If you could see this school in action, you would smile: such engaged students. Such committed teachers. Incredible community support. And yet... endangered.

    Do you not see a place for such schools? I do, and I will support them with a vengeance. I do not, however, support the hedge-fund for-profit educational initiatives. But these are not the same things. Charter does not equal Wall Street money, and I wish that people would stop conflating them.

    "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

    by Huginn and Muninn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:03:53 PM PDT

    •  sorry, but not without some control for quality (0+ / 0-)

      the record of charters does not warrant expansion.

      You have swallowed hook, line and sinker the false arguments made by some charter proponents.

      Educational policy should be based on evidence.  The evidence for charters is that they are not a magic solution.  Simply mandating expansion has the real possibility of a Gresham's Law effect.  

      And let's be clear - one primary reason for many charter advocates, even beyond those who have figured out how to profit from charters, is the desire to break teachers unions.

      I am not opposed to charters in principal.  I do think they require at least the same degree of oversight as in imposed upon ordinary public schools.  Many states do not require anything close to that.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:23:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you read what I wrote? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foufou
        I believe that the caps do need to be lifted. At the same time, I would advocate putting stricter regulations and parameters in place regarding how such schools should be funded and run.

        I agree that there needs to be oversight. But the approach you're advocating dooms even those schools that ARE performing (and outperforming) -- baby with the bathwater, and all that.

        I have not "swallowed" anything -- I'm talking about seeing a great charter school in action. I see the evidence every single day. I see the kids in this school and there is a light in their eyes that it marvelous to behold. I think maybe it is you who don't want to see that there are public charters (again, community-driven, not business-driven) that work, since it would damage your argument.

        I really do respect your thinking about education, Ken, but you seem to have a blind spot here.

        "We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." -- Willy Wonka

        by Huginn and Muninn on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:50:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  baloney (0+ / 0-)

          lifting caps WITHOUT OVERSIGHT or not lifting has no effect on existing good schools

          the objection is the lack of any requirement for accountability at the same time as public schools are having untested or tested and failed approaches jammed down their throats in the name of accountability using instruments that by the administration's own actions it acknowledges are flawed.

          "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

          by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:10:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The last month, Duncan and the prez are on the (0+ / 0-)

    right page.

    I think having it possible in 2012 will make real reform possible.

    •  some words are right, no difference in actions (0+ / 0-)

      to any discernable effect.  They have been on the Hill seeking to cut deals with House Republicans for reauthorization of ESEA.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:10:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not a teacher (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Kaib

    and I no longer have a child in school.  I know very little about education policy, other than what I have learned from and others who write here about it.  But when all those teachers in RI were summarily fired and Arne Duncan applauded it, I started to pay attention.  Obama is not the "education president" by any stretch.

    Take the pledge on Social Security

    by 2laneIA on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:30:38 PM PDT

  •  Regarding who to endorse (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chuckvw, David Kaib

    the Firefighters Union is leading the way.  They are going into the state legislative races.  We need to take Wisconsin as our lesson and elect people in our state houses who will insist on more rational policies in all areas, not just education.  Those people will run for Congress as time passes.  The Republicans have played a long game for thirty years.  We could learn from that.  

    And in the meantime, if the President hasn't earned an endorsement, don't endorse anyone in the presidential race.  Endorsements lower down will allow people to do GOTV, if I understand what you wrote correctly, while not rewarding bad behavior.

    Take the pledge on Social Security

    by 2laneIA on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:36:42 PM PDT

  •  I couldn't disagree more. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arpear, foufou, loblolly

    As a member of the NEA myself (my wife is a delegate), I am glad we are taking steps to endorse Obama this year.

    I do not agree with everything this administration has done or has proposed, but I don't think withholding the endorsement until 2012 will accomplish anything. It will only delay the time we have to fight the GOP.

    "Lay 'er on the port tack, full and bye!" --C.S. Forester

    by Dragon5616 on Sun May 08, 2011 at 12:58:30 PM PDT

  •  It seems really early for any organization (0+ / 0-)

    to endorse.  Any trade association or union on either side that makes an endorsement now risks the candidate taking their endorsement for granted -- before a platform is even rolled out.  An endorsement should be earned -- even if there is likely only one candidate who may express a platform more or less in keeping with the organization.  And a non-endorsement sends a message as well.  Taking back an endorsement in a large assembly dominated body is usually very difficult.

  •  OK (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foufou, loblolly

    Thank you for the typically thoughtful commentary.

    However, I don't think handicapping the unions efforts to re-elect someone who actually believes in education and who saved teacher jobs makes a lot of sense.

    In real life, the union is either going to help Obama get elected or not. If the union chooses not to, one of two things will happen. Obama will be re-elected proving that teacher union support was unnecessary or he won't be elected and that will be very bad for public education.

    Don't ask more of an endorsement than it can give. It is not the best or only way to effect change in policy. It takes a lot more work than that.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun May 08, 2011 at 01:45:04 PM PDT

  •  We must not fit into the Right's politics of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loblolly

    division that pits unions against each other and against the only presidential candidate that we will have any hope of swaying in our discussions.  It all depends upon what the NEA does next with our endorsement.  If we sit on our hands, then it won't count for much.  If, however, we make our voices known from the inside, then we will have had a much larger effect.

    Ken, I doubt that you can see anyone on the Right who is even the least bit predisposed to even listen to teachers, much less respect us.  

    Rather than trying to hurt Obama in what will be a very tough, bare-knucks campaign, I propose that once the endorsement is in place to then demand that he dump Duncan and put in place a true educator, preferably some one who has taught in the classroom more than just a couple of years (which is true of too many of our administrators).

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