National Educators Support Obama in Chicago

Following Joe Biden's rousing Windy City speech, the NEA gave Obama its early endorsement

By Lisa Balde
|  Tuesday, Jul 5, 2011  |  Updated 7:33 AM CDT
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The National Education Association, the country's largest teachers' union, voted Monday to support President Barack Obama's 2012 bid.

The move comes amid conflict between the Chicago Teachers Union and the city's school board after a controversial vote to reject contractual raises for teachers.

It also follows a Windy City visit from Vice President Joe Biden, who aimed to rev up union leaders with a speech about how "new" Republicans don't believe in education like Obama does.

The NEA mostly agreed with Biden, and 72 percent voted to endorse Obama for re-election.

“President Barack Obama shares our vision for a stronger America,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel in a statement. “He has never wavered from talking about the importance of education or his dedication to a vibrant middle class."

The NEA usually makes its presidential recommendation the summer before the general election, but the association wanted to help "ensure the election of a candidate who is on the side of students and working families."

Van Roekel called the past two years "eye-opening" and said education decisions shouldn't be left in the hands of legislators who don't support public schools.

“There are two very distinct visions for this country,” he said. “One is about opportunities for all and one is not.”

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