United States Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) officially entered the race for president on Saturday, February 10th with his announcement rally at the old Capitol in Springfield, IL. Immediately following the campaign rally, Senator Obama was off to Iowa! On Saturday his stops in Iowa included Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.
On Sunday, February 11th, Senator Obama began his day in Iowa Falls (which I believe resembles Bedford Falls--from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life"), then to Ames where over 5,000 gathered at Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University to hear from the Senator. My niece, Jennie (pictured in the center) and her girlfriend, Leria (pictured on the left), drove in from Council Bluffs early Sunday morning to meet up with Aunt Linda and participate in the rally.
Prior to the start of the rally at Hilton, I was a part of a VIP Reception held backstage of the event. Here (on left) U.S. Senator Barack Obama is autographing my copy of the children's book Duck for President. As he autographed the book, I had a chance to share with the Senator concerns from Team NEA with the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Senator Obama interjected his concern for tracking progress of students (which is NEA's concern too!)--looking at the 'growth' of students from one school year to the next. In addition I shared our concern for the ability to use multiple measures to check for understanding rather than a "one size fits all test". And the Senator agreed that funding has been lacking.
After introductions were made, Senator Obama and his wife Michelle entered the arena to a crowd that greeted them as rock stars! Here (on the right) Michelle Obama greets people as the Obamas move down the stairs towards the stage.
Senator Obama (on left) was pumped up with energy as he worked his way down the stairs towards the stage with the warm Iowa welcome the crowd had given him.
I do enjoy the opportunity to meet all the candidates that are entering the race for president. It is a great chance to share the concerns of Iowa educators that I've heard as I've visited our members in their classrooms, work place, community colleges and AEA's.
I would challenge all Team ISEA to participate in candidate forums as those running for office visit your communities. Here is your chance to share your own story of how federal laws impact your ability to do your job and the students you teach.