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Not a surprise, but a sign that Obama’s education “reform” efforts haven’t alienated a powerful ally, despite their frustration with him:

The nation’s largest teachers union voted Monday to endorse President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, during a raucous convention that highlighted widespread unhappiness with the president’s education policies.

The vote, during the annual convention of the National Education Association, was supported by 72% of the union’s representative assembly. The assembly is the top decision-making body for the union and the endorsement allows the NEA, which represents 3.2 million teachers, to start campaigning for Mr. Obama.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said the endorsement gives the union leverage to push for changes more favorable to labor and teachers, especially overhauls to No Child Left Behind, the controversial education policy up for renewal this year.

Organized labor, a power base for Democrats, could be crucial to Mr. Obama’s re-election bid, especially in swing states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The NEA is the nation’s largest union and officials have said they are prepared to spend up to $60 million on the re-election effort.

Watch for the rest of Labor to line up behind the president, failure on the Employee Free Choice Act notwithstanding, over the coming months, if only because of the more-aggressive-than-ever anti-union rhetoric emanating from the Tea Party (and the Republican presidential hopefuls). [The Wall Street Journal]

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