NEA RA. I’m not going, but Hillary is.


Hillary and NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia.

For only the second time in over twenty years I won’t be attending the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly which takes place next week in D.C.

I’ve been elected as a retired delegate the past three years, but in my fourth year as a retired teacher, I am no longer an NEA member.

Since I’m no longer engaged in collective bargaining, I depend on organizations that  will fight for the rights and promised benefits of retirees. The NEA, and my local state affiliate, don’t meet that simple requirement.

Hillary Clinton received the early endorsement of the NEA in her run against Bernie Sanders. Although NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia was never as visible in the Clinton campaign as AFT President Randi Weingarten (who seemed to spend the past six months doing nothing but tweeting pro-Hillary tweets non-stop), the NEA contributed money and other resources to Clinton. This was in spite of the fact that it seemed to many delegates coming out of last year’s RA that the NEA would not rush an endorsement. The eventual NEA endorsement of Clinton was criticized by many for side-stepping the rank and file membership.

Hillary will be the featured speaker at the national meeting. I think she is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5th.

If past practice is any precedent, not much will be demanded of the candidate or the Democratic Party in exchange for teacher dollars and votes.

As the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss points out in a column today, education issues have not exactly been front and center in the primary campaigns of either parties.

Sanders has rarely mentioned them.

Clinton’s record is one of support for the corporate reform agenda.

Trump is crazy.

Strauss reprints the issues that Diane Ravitch’s group, the Network for Public Education, is bringing to the Democratic Party’s platform committee.

They include an end to high stakes testing, resources for closing the opportunity gap, fully funding IDEA, strengthening FERPA and and opposition to privatization.

Debates over the Party platform are good in that they shine some temporary national light on the issues, but Party platforms are like last year’s Oscar awards.

Nobody remembers who won after they are over.

The two national teacher unions will work hard to get out the vote for Clinton over Trump. Randi Weingarten couldn’t be more obvious about her wish to be Clinton’s Education Secretary if she wore it on a sandwich board.

With Hillary’s past record of support for the corporate education agenda, and her likely election, the real work of rank and file educators in defense of public schools will continue way past November’s election.


3 Replies to “NEA RA. I’m not going, but Hillary is.”

  1. “education issues have not exactly been front and center in the primary campaigns of either parties. Sanders has rarely mentioned them.”
    What about the debate over making public colleges and universities tuition free? Is that swept under economic issues? I thought the conversation about that touched on a lot of education issues.

    1. Of course, Sam. But from my place as someone who watches public school issues closely, I can’t say that issues of school funding, privatization, charters, school closings, public employee and teacher pensions, loss of teachers of color to the profession (a national scandal), teacher prep, cuts to special needs kids, testing and teacher evaluations ever were brought up. Can you?

  2. The issue of teacher pensions and the many states that deny earned social security to retired teachers probably won’t even be mentioned.

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