The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) expressed its delight over a decision at the recent NEA meeting in Houston not to take into account a presidential candidate’s views on privatized charter schools when making its endorsement. AEI is a conservative, free-enterprise think tank in D.C. that is partially funded by Betsy DeVos and her family foundation, who appreciate AEI’s libertarian stances.

Friends at the NEA meeting tell me that the organization contains a few charter teachers and did not want to offend them. If you were there and have a different view, please comment. There are 7,000 charter schools. A few hundred have organized and joined the NEA or AFT. Ninety percent are non-union, which is what their funders (like the anti-union Waltons) want.

NEA’s decision signals that it is fine if a candidate like Cory Booker or Michael Bennett gives full-throated support to privatization of public schools. That should not be held against him. It matters not if a candidate supports a sector of schools where 90% of teachers are non-union. It matters not if a candidate aligns himself or herself with the anti-union right-wingers like DeVos and the Waltons. It matters not if a candidate supports the federal Charter School Program, which currently spends $440 million a year to grow corporate charter chains.

Meanwhile, the candidates who have bravely resisted the lure of billionaire dollars to defend public schools and the right of teachers to bargain collectively get a snub from the nation’s biggest teachers’ union.

Does this mean that the right-wingers and the media will stop bashing “the teachers’ unions” for battling charter schools?

Don’t count on it.