Despite joking with President Bush that I might run for President, I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t make a very good politician. I think I would have a hard time balancing so many needs and not offending my constituents.
At the NEA convention, I think I was sort of expected to be the union man. I had complete freedom to talk about whatever I wanted to, but I wasn’t there to make anyone mad (plus, an angry crowd of 10,000 is not conducive to leaving the building intact.) My goal is usually to gently nudge, and I think I was able to do that regarding policy-makers and dealing with accountability. (See video in previous post.)
The next day, however, on national TV, when Charlie Rose asked about merit pay and the role of unions, my answers were probably not the “party line” at the NEA. And that was kind of hard for me to do, because I’ve met some remarkable, intelligent and passionate people at the state and national level of the Education Association.
It sort of felt a bit like church, where when everyone is together there’s this feeling of “yeah, we’re all in this together, and we know how it really is.” There’s a sense of community pride and unity. But then, when you share on your own that you might not believe quite what the collective body has agreed upon as their beliefs, or that you’re still asking some deep questions, people aren’t quite sure what to make of you.
I guess we’ll see what happens. The show airs tonight. Regardless, I’ll be at home, snuggled up with Jen on the couch, and that’s what is most important.
(Here’s the video from the show, which was a great honor to take part in, by the way. To be sitting at the round table with a hero of mine - not to mention three other National Teachers - was quite remarkable.)
Editor's note: Jen fell asleep. Charlie needs to air much earlier on the west coast!