To no one's surprise, delegates to the annual National Education Association convention voted 7,390 to 1,153 to endorse U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for president.
NEA President Reg Weaver opened the annual convention in July in Washington, D.C., with a call for public school teachers and employees to mobilize to defeat President Bush on Nov. 2. Weaver said the union's political activism "takes center stage" and predicted "our 2.7 million members can be the X factor in this election."
For the 2004 political campaign, the NEA will "partner" with left-wing organizations such as MoveOn.org, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and the pro-Democratic Campaign for America's Future in order to achieve "the largest mobilization for education ever." Through a nationwide political strategy called "house parties" to be held Sept. 22, these activists will plan political rallies, register voters, meet with congressional candidates and organize a get-out-the-vote program to cover teachers and parents.
Kerry was to have been the convention's headline speaker, but he stood them up, choosing that day to announce his choice of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., as his running mate. The delegates were more than pleased with his replacement, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., who was introduced as "one of our closest allies; she's so close, in fact, that she needs no further introduction."
The former first lady brought the delegates to their feet with what the NEA's official newspaper called her "sharp wit," such as, "We are one day closer to the end of the Bush-Cheney administration." Actually, she was just a warm-up for a showing of Michael Moore's anti-Bush movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11," right after her speech.
The NEA's lobbying goals in 2005 for Congress include federal funding for public school child care, early childhood programs that are school-based, before- and after-school programs, big spending for school counselors and school-based health care for children.
The NEA's non-education-related lobbying goals include funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, national health care, reparations to African-Americans, statehood for the District of Columbia, taxpayer funding of federal elections and a national holiday for Cesar Chavez.
The NEA's foreign policy goals include ratification of the United Nations treaties on the Rights of the Child and on Discrimination against Women.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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