Saturday, July 07, 2007

NEA Report #7--The rest of the candidates

NEA invited ALL of the presidential candidates to speak at the Representative Assembly. NEA always invites all of the candidates. (1/3 of NEA members are Republicans.) This year, for the first time in NEA history, a Republican candidate accepted that invitation, and he received the same enthusiastic Team NEA welcome as the other candidates:

Mike Huckabee was a great storyteller, and he made us laugh with the one about the Harvard student who got the only A+ in Harvard history for his one sentence essay utilizing the concepts of Religion, Royalty, Sex and Mystery.* He also told us about growing up in a patriotic home.** When he spoke about education, though, he was very serious. He equated education with national security, and talked about the importance of health care for children. One of his passions is to make sure that art and music are mandatory parts of the curriculum, and he illustrated this point with a story from his childhood about the importance to him of the guitar he received one Christmas.

Barack Obama spoke about the "these kids" syndrome -- in which the more we talk about the kids who are failing in our educational system (or who are being failed by it) are spoken about, the more they increasingly become someone else's problem. He would have us remember that they are OUR KIDS and we need to do whatever it takes to help them succeed. "Our Kids" was then one of his catch-phrases throughout his speech. He called No Child Left Behind "one of the emptiest slogans in American politics," pointing out that what we really left behind was the money to fund it, along with common sense.

Joe Biden didn't claim that he'd be The Education Parent, he pointed out that his family is the Education Family -- his wife is a teacher, and he teaches a law course every Saturday. He scoffed at an earlier candidate's promise to select a teacher as Secretary of Education (Who? I can't remember now...). He said, "How about a teacher living in the White House and sleeping with the president?!?" He spoke on all of the main issues: education is more than just the teachers, it is also the Education Support Professionals (ESPs), keep art and music, drop out rate/access to college, importance of preschool, and teacher pay/retention.



*"My God," said the Queen. "I'm pregnant! I wonder who did it?"
**"My father laid on the stripes, and I saw stars!!"

2 comments:

  1. On a completely different topic . . . remember that book we were discussing. The one I said I was going to listen to on fast-speed?

    I've given up on it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for the NEA updates. Much appreciated.

    ReplyDelete

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