For two years as a presidential candidate, Barack Obama addressed educators gathered for the summer conventions of the two national teachers’ unions, and last year both groups rolled out the welcome mat for Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
But in a sign of the Obama administration’s strained relations with two of its most powerful political allies, no federal official was scheduled to speak at either convention this month, partly because union officials feared that administration speakers would face heckling.
Normally I'd take this is a good sign, but unfortunately, from what I understand of Obama's education policy, the teachers are being misled by a PR machine. He's big on bashing unions in public, but has no problem saddling up to them in private. Then again, despite allowing the DC voucher program to die and showering public schools with cash as "stimulus," his $4.3 billion Race to the Top program has been pissing off teachers unions, so maybe he is doing something right?