This is the fourth year in a row that I've represented the California Teachers Empowerment Network at the Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism conference in DC. There weren't as many attendees as there have been in years past--the economy might have something to do with that--but it was probably the best of the 4 I've been to.
I'm sure that our "friends" on the left will attempt to dismiss this conference as preaching to the choir. Why, of course only Republicans would attend such a thing! These friends might be surprised to learn, however, what a bipartisan conference it truly is.
One attendee talked about how proud he is to be a Democrat, and how he thinks President Obama is a pragmatist who would be able to get good things done for the nation if only obstructionist Republicans wouldn't get in his way. This attendee also supports the concept of voluntary, as opposed to compulsory, unionism.
One of our speakers was Joe Williams, the Executive Director for Democrats For Education Reform. He was cheerfully, admittedly partisan, and wants to focus his education reform efforts only on Democrats.
Mike Miles, a Colorado Springs superintendent who seemed pretty happy that his district is only about 25% unionized, admitted that he is a Democrat. He gave the closing presentation, on how his district has eliminated the step-and-column pay scale and is going purely to pay-for-performance.
On the other hand, Congressman Joe "You Lied!" Wilson spoke to us for a few minutes during a congressional reception.
It was a politically diverse group of people in those conference rooms these past few days. I enjoyed myself immensely and hope that I brought back enough information to CTEN to justify the cost of my travel.