2012 elections prime education activists for future political challenges


by Brian Washington

Education activists who helped re-elect President Obama are looking ahead to their next political challenge.

During a recent tele-town hall, more than 600 Educators for Obama responded to a poll question which asked, “What possible next efforts are you interested in learning about and getting involved with?”

Forty percent said gubernatorial and legislative races in 2013 and 2014. Twenty-two percent said they want to get involved with the current battle to keep the country from going off the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Seventeen percent said they would get involved with federal midterm election for the U.S. House and Senate in 2014. Fifteen percent said levy proposals as well as local school board and city council races, and 6 percent choose the “other” category.

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Another poll question during the tele-town hall drew an even greater response from the more than 3,000 people who participated in the event. The second poll question, which prompted more than 1,100 people to respond, asked, “During the 2012 election cycle, what campaign did you participate most with?”

A total of about 69-percent said they worked to get President Obama re-elected through Obama for America and/or NEA’s Educators for Obama program. Similar to OFA, NEA’s Educators for Obama program was made up of volunteers—primarily educators—who dedicated themselves to working to re-elect President Obama.

Eighteen percent said they worked on gubernatorial and legislative races and ballot measure campaigns, and 9 percent said U.S. House and Senate races. Four percent of those who took part in the phone poll choose the “other” category.

The tele-town hall featured NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, who thanked volunteers for their hard work during the 2012 election cycle. Van Roekel, a math teacher from Arizona, said what volunteers did during the campaign was nothing short of fantastic. He said they knocked on doors, talked to family, friends, and co-workers about the election, and made over a million phone calls on behalf of President Barack Obama.

“As we look back to our success in November, we need to celebrate and feel good, but we are not done,” said Van Roekel. “We must continue our work to make sure every child is given a right to a free public education. In a country as great as ours, it shouldn’t matter where you live, what’s your zip code or the financial status of your parents. It should just be that every kid in America has a school right in his or her neighborhood that says this is where you go to follow your dreams.”

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