Dear Commons Community,
The National Education Association (NEA) endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday for president. The American Federation of Teachers endorsed Hillary in July. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“The National Education Association, the nation’s largest union, endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Saturday.
The union’s campaign arm had indicated that it was recommending the endorsement earlier this week, as Politico first reported. Members of the 3-million-strong union who support Clinton’s main rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have already protested the move, just as Sanders supporters from the American Federation of Teachers did when Clinton secured that union’s endorsement in July.
“Clinton is a strong leader who will do what is best for America’s students. For more than four decades, Clinton has fought to make sure all children have a fair opportunity to succeed regardless of their ZIP code,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the NEA, in a statement. “Clinton will continue to advocate on behalf of students, educators and working families because she understands the road to a stronger U.S. economy starts in America’s public schools.”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, García said that Clinton personally came and spoke to the organization’s 175-person board of directors in a session that left them “blew them away” because of Clinton’s understanding of what a president would have to do on certain education issues.
“As a lifelong fighter for children and families, I am deeply honored to have earned the endorsement of the National Education Association and their nearly 3 million members,” Clinton said in a statement after the endorsement was announced.
The NEA’s campaign arm had said that it believed Clinton was the candidate best positioned to win in the general election next year. But both Clinton and Sanders had received “A” ratings on the group’s congressional legislative scorecard…
..the NEA chose Clinton, García said, because she was the candidate who the union felt would be best able to highlight education issues in the presidential race.
“It was never a discussion about who’s for education who’s against education. People are gonna make up their own minds we get that, we understand that, we respect that,” she said.
The NEA’s interests include ending competitive block grant programs supported by Obama like “Race to the Top,” and scaling back federally mandated “high-stakes” standardized testing that influences administrative decisions about teachers. Members of the Democratic Party have been divided over the merits of changes in public education, including more funding for charter schools and teacher evaluation systems influenced by standardized test scores.
“It’s just dead wrong to make teachers the scapegoats for all of society’s problems,” Clinton told the AFT earlier this year, according to The Washington Post. “Where I come from, teachers are the solution. And I strongly believe that unions are part of the solution, too.”