Elected by the people, paid by the teachers’ union
A state representative who also works for the union is being criticized for his conflict of interest.
The National Education Association has backed Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden for president, calling Biden a “tireless advocate for public education.”
While the endorsement is not surprising—the union’s support of and involvement with the Democratic Party establishment over the years is not a secret—the timing is a bit surprising.
During the 2016 presidential race, the NEA faced tension and criticism for its early endorsement of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Union members who “felt the Bern” were forced to be “with her.” And members who supported a Republican candidate or no candidate at all also had their dues money spent on supporting a candidate not aligned with their political ideology. But Hillary didn’t win, and union leaders were left to lick their wounds and consider revising their endorsement process for the 2020 primary.
According to the NEA, its presidential recommendation was a “culmination of a highly-inclusive and transparent process that involved the deep engagement of its members across the country.”
But the union’s “process” hasn’t sat well with all of its members, who feel rank and file weren’t included in the decision. And many are confused over the NEA’s rush to endorse Biden when Sanders is still in the race. Here are some of the comments on the NEA’s endorsement announcement.
“I prefer Sanders, as many educators, and they will rightly feel unrepresented by this move on high. Why endorse now?? Why not wait until one drops out?”
“Endorsing Biden, yet again, reinforces my decision not to waste my money on a union like NEA. … Maybe next time you need to ask your members who they want you to endorse.”
“It is less because you endorsed Biden than the undemocratic way by which you did it that I am reconsidering my membership. No consultation or vote was conducted among the rank and file. I am interested in being part of a democratic organization.”
“Why doesn’t the NEA poll all its members? How hard would that be?
What’s wrong with direct democracy?”
“This endorsement doesn’t take into consideration all paying members of the NEA.”