Two years ago Diane Ravitch spoke to the NEA Representative Assembly. Last year and this it was Joe Biden.
Two years ago Bill Gates spoke to the AFT Convention. This year it will be Diane Ravitch.
Nothing goes in a straight line, does it?
As EdWeek’s Stephen Sawchuk points out, there are what you might call cultural and historical differences in the way the two national teacher unions run their conventions. The NEA is more affiliate driven. In a formal sense, the power resides in the state affiliates. This was borne out a dozen years ago when a few affiliates, including Illinois, defeated then-NEA President Bob Chase’s proposals to merge with the AFT.
And as NYC Educator points out on his blog, the AFT convention is a more controlled affair. A UFT teacher who is not part of or beholden to the Unity Caucus is not likely to become a delegate. NYC Educator more than suggests that it is quite likely a teacher who openly promotes the same views of Diane Ravitch on a number of issues could not be a UFT delegate to the AFT convention.
That’s for AFT President Randi Weingarten to prove wrong.
A huge difference between the two meetings is that the AFT will not need to pass a resolution in support of the Chicago Teachers Union as we did at the NEA RA last month in DC.
Weingarten already has demonstrated that support by her appearance at the historic May 23rd rally and march (although she did then undermine that appearance with another appearance a week later with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, praising him for his so-called job creation and infrastructure initiative).
There is no question that the dynamic fight-back leadership of Karen Lewis and other CTU delegates will add a refreshing new spirit to the affair in Detroit.