Saturday, July 07, 2007

Philly Finale

My apologies for not getting this posted more quickly but the last day of the RA went until 9:34pm. By the time my wife and I went to eat and returned to our hotel, it was midnight.

Our flight made it difficult to get anything on the board too. We packed up everything, spent a couple of hours at the airport, and then sat out on the runway for two hours because the Houston airport had been shutdown with weather problems. We finally left over two hours late. Our connecting flight had been delayed because of the bad weather as well. It didn't have a complete crew. When we did, our 7 pm flight was now leaving around 10:30pm. We got into OKC after midnight making for another long day. It was great to get back home, but you're probably more interested in what went on at the RA on the final day than my flight problems.

July 5th featured three additional candidates for President: Senator Barack Obama from Illinois, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Delaware Senator Joe Biden. While all three gave positive messages about education, Governor Huckabee did so in front of a crowd that no Republican had ever spoken in front of before he stepped to the mic.

Huckabee realized the NEA's membership is thirty-three percent Republican and that 2,000-3,000 of them would be at the RA. He wants to reach those members and he wasn't afraid of the challenge of speaking to a group of people that may not be as supportive as other crowds.

I applaud Governor Huckabee for accepting our invitation. I wish the other Republican front-runners had done the same. Unfortunately, it was impossible for Senator McCain or former Senator Thompson to work it into their schedules. There is no excuse for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, for not even responding to the invitation.

The majority of the delegates were wearing red t-shirts with the slogan "A child is more than a test score" across the front. It was a powerful image to see all those people committed to the same cause. We must continue to let everyone know the pitfalls of No Child Left Behind so we can get the NEA's positive agenda for reauthorization included in the final bill when it comes up before Congress.

The RA in Philadelphia was packed with a roller coaster of emotions with the inclusion of 8 candidates, anyone of which could be the next President of the United States. We had our normal number of new business items and resolutions, but listening to the candidates talk positively about our schools, children and teachers made this RA something very special. If you'd like more information on the candidates and the final day in Philadelphia, click on at

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