Thursday, January 20, 2011

Women's Leadership Training Program

Last week from Wednesday night through Friday about 2:00, I attended the NEA Women's Leadership Training Program in Advancing Your Leadership Skills.  The first part of the training was basic information about leadership, attributes of leaders, and how the Association is set up from the local building level up to the NEA level. 

The most interesting information was about NEA's commitment to social justice.  These are the types of injustice NEA is working to prevent, with historical examples.
  • Exploitation:  what one group does only benefits another group (slavery)
  • Marginalization:  exclusion of group from society (Indian reservations)
  • Powerlessness:  no access to make decisions (women's right to vote)
  • Cultural Imperialism:  group's culture is the norm (White Anglo Saxon Protestants in Western culture)
  • Violence:  random attacks against a group (burning crosses on lawns of blacks during 1960's)
I'm sure you can think of examples of each of these occurring in your classroom or elsewhere in your life.  This is important, because if there is not social justice, there is not a great public school for every student.  NEA has a Department of Human and Civil Rights and you can see an overview at

One of the great things about attending these trainings is to meet and network with others from around the nation.  One gal from Kansas said they had a big district, because they just opened their second high school.  The lady from Nebraska teaches in a K-12 school that is it's own district!  The woman from New Mexico said they are not able to sit down and negotiate salary or benefits; they are told what they will receive, and she is glad they currently have a "benevolent" superintendent.  I have already corresponded with a couple of these ladies and have some ideas to use in the coming year.

The concluding event on Friday was lunch where NEA President, Dennis Van Roekel was the speaker.  He is very inspiring to hear speak.  I had the opportunity to meet him.  He talked about the power we have as the largest labor organization in the country.  We need to use our unified voice to be powerful at the District and State levels.

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