The National Education Association — which represents 3.2 million teachers and education professionals across the country — took its first step Thursday toward endorsing Barack Obama for president in 2012, TPM has learned.
The NEA is the country’s largest union, and the news makes it the first to signal formal support for Obama’s reelection bid.
The union’s Political Action Committee sent a recommendation to its governing group, the Representative Assembly, urging the full membership of the union to stand behind Obama’s bid for a second term.
The formal endorsement will come this summer, assuming the Representative Assembly approves the committee’s recommendation at the NEA’s Chicago convention in July.
Though the NEA has become one of the first unions to publicly back Obama’s reelection, most expect Obama to enjoy strong labor support from all corners once the campaign gets really rolling.
In a statement, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said labor needs to get on board with Obama sooner rather than later.
This is the time to make decisions about the direction of our country, and we have real choices to make. As activists, engaged educators, we should get involved now. Will we allow Congress to gut Medicare, slash education and cut Social Security, and continue to make it just fine for hedge fund managers and corporations to sidestep paying taxes? Or will we act and assert the real American values of hard work and responsibility, a commitment to a vibrant middle class, to college affordability, and the opportunity to reach the American Dream? It is time to stand strong for what we believe in and what is right for students and families, schools and the nation. President Barack Obama has proven he deserves a second term.