By Will Potter, NEA Staff
Vice President Joe Biden addressed thousands of educators at the National Education Association’s 150th Annual Meeting on Tuesday, and said that the “full-blown assault” they are experiencing would get much worse under the leadership of Governor Mitt Romney.
“My Dad used to say ‘Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget,’” Biden told delegates. Governor Mitt Romney and Republican Congressional leadership “have shown us their budget,” Biden said, and it is about protecting the personal interests of the super rich rather than building an education system that helps all students succeed.
Biden said that when Romney and other Republicans accuse educators of being selfish, it reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the teaching profession.
He pointed to York, Pennsylvania, where educators could have received a pay increase under their contract. Instead, they voted to use their money to pay for kindergarten programs.
His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, is a longtime educator and teaches English at a community college. She also addressed the delegates today, receiving roaring applause when she said, “I know that you all understand. Being a teacher is not what I do, it’s who I am.”
Vice-President Biden said he had heard again and again stories from educators about paying for school supplies out of pocket, or leaving the dinner table for a home visit at night.
“You chose to be teachers because you want to make this country better,” Biden said. “You chose to be teachers because you know every child, every child, to do as well as they can. That’s why you did it. But I’m afraid the governor and his allies don’t get it.”