NEA Seeks Greater Political Impact in '08

The National Education Association is considering holding a U.S. presidential nominating convention for its activists in 2007. Delegates to the convention would be given the choice of recommending a candidate from one, both, or neither of the major political parties.

The idea arose from the union’s experience in the 2004 election, when the California Teachers Association, among others, recommended Howard Dean in the Democratic primary, while Michigan Education Association President Lu Battaglieri personally endorsed John Kerry, and NEA remained neutral until Kerry won the nomination. The union hopes to hold the convention no later than October 2007, before the Iowa caucus in January 2008.

The union’s Representative Assembly in July 2008 will still vote up or down on NEA’s recommendation in the general election.

The delegates to the nominating convention will be limited to the NEA board of directors and members of the union’s PAC Council, which includes the state affiliate presidents and the leaders of various NEA special interest caucuses. NEA expects this will total some 370 participants.

According to the current plan, the convention "should be open to the media and, space permitting, to NEA members and their families."

Presidential candidates will be allowed to address the delegates, then field questions.