NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi was among this year's delegates to the National Education Association's 90th Representative Assembly in Chicago, during which delegates overwhelmingly recommended Barack Obama for re-election.
"President Barack Obama shares our vision for a stronger America. He has never wavered from talking about the importance of education or his dedication to a vibrant middle class," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, adding that over the last two years, state legislatures and the mid-term elections have demonstrated what can happen when education legislation and "decisions are left in the hands of politicians who do not support public schools."
Obama received 70 percent of the delegate vote a day after Vice President Joe Biden addressed the union, which is one of NYSUT's national affiliates.
Speaking to the more-than 9,000 educators in attendance, Biden said the current national debate is centered on a fundamental difference in vision for America, and he encouraged educators to work closely with lawmakers and others who genuinely want to improve public education so that all students have access to quality public schools.
"The debate is about whether or not, for America to succeed, we need to provide the best education for all our children - or for just some of our children," said Biden. "It is about social equality, economic opportunity and concentration of wealth."
The NEA on Sunday also honored Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear with the America's Greatest Education Governor Award for his commitment to public education.
During Beshear's term, Kentucky has moved into the top 20 in the United States in fourth-grade and eighth-grade reading scores. He also signed legislation to make it easier for students to transfer credits from a community or technical college to any of Kentucky's four-year universities.
NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, and Vice Presidents Maria Neira and Kathleen Donahue also attended the RA - which opened Friday and runs through today.
The event kicked off with a special recognition of the 14 Wisconsin state senators who left the state earlier this year rather than vote for a controversial bill that would have weakened, and possibly eliminated, collective bargaining for Wisconsin public employees. Known as the "Wisconsin 14," the group received the union's "Friend of Education Award."