“Ideally, NEA would have endorsed a candidate during the primaries, but our members were like voters everywhere,” said Weaver. “They were split between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton. But it’s now apparent that Senator Obama has secured the necessary number of delegates to win the Democratic nomination. With such a clear picture of what Senator Obama will do for public education and his commitment to partner with NEA on issues that affect our members across the country, every public school employee needs to get squarely behind the Obama candidacy.”
Presidential candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties worked to get the NEA’s recommendation and access to its seasoned army of political member activists.
“Senator Clinton has an outstanding record of support for children and public education,” said Weaver. “As long as she was a viable candidate in the Democratic nomination process, many of our members felt a passionate need to return the loyalty she has earned over decades of support.”
The contrast between Obama and McCain on issues that matter most to NEA members – the economy, education and health care – is indeed stark. Obama opposes using public tax dollars to provide financial support to private schools. McCain is already on record with votes supporting vouchers.
Obama has made it clear that the Bush Administration’s No Child Left Behind law must be changed. McCain has been crossing the country saying he’ll expand the very provisions of NCLB that the nation’s educators cite as its greatest flaws, most especially its one-size-fits-all high-stakes testing provisions.
Obama supports making health care available to every American child. McCain has voted against expansion of existing federal programs designed to provide health care for the nation’s neediest children.
Obama has said repeatedly that, while teachers need to be held accountable for what goes on in the classroom, every teacher deserves a living wage. McCain has called for paying teachers based on student test scores.
Obama supports reducing class size to improve student achievement. McCain has already voted against attempts to reduce class size.
“You can go down any list of what public school employees believe they need to truly help every child be successful, and you’ll see that Senator Obama supports that list and that Senator McCain not only opposes it, but has probably already voted against it,” said Weaver. “There are big and important issues in this campaign, but none is more important to the long-term future of America than public education. And there’s a clear choice in 2008. I will be asking our members to make the right choice for public education and to support Senator Obama.”
Here I am (above) with Senator Obama in July 2007. Senator Obama visited the Iowa delegation at an early morning caucus during the 2007 NEA Representative Assembly in Philadelphia, PA.