In an address to members of the National Education Association Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden sought the union's support in the upcoming presidential election and aimed to lessen the appearance of conflicts with the association.
"In these times of change, I know you don't agree with everything we've done in this administration. Believe me, I know," Biden said to laughter from delegates. "I respect the disagreement we have. And not all of it, are you wrong about. Some of it you are. But ... this is more a fight within the family."
The vice president largely praised the teachers, noting that their fight for labor rights is about the country's children and "about social equality, economic opportunity, concentration of wealth, about the belief in the possibility of every child in America."
Biden acknowledged that there's widespread dissatisfaction among teachers for the Obama administration's policies, drawing applause when he told the delegation "not all of it you are wrong about."
Still, he said the administration "stands for education and it stands with labor," adding that the "new Republican party" doesn't fundamentally believe in public education in the same way the Democrats do.
The delegation votes today on whether to formally endorse President Barack Obama for re-election next year, but feelings among delegates are mixed.
There was no mention, however, of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, whom the NEA criticized in New Business Item C Sunday. Despite the union's dissatisfaction with Duncan, they voted against New Business Item 22 Sunday afternoon, which would have called for Duncan's removal from office.