Saturday, July 2, 2011

NEA RA Day 2

The NEA RA is began today. 
It started with a party-like atmosphere to get people energized.  This short video shows the atmosphere on the first day of the NEA RA.
Illinois Governor Quinn spoke. He thanked all school emploees for what they do. Illinois has had teachers at the table every step of the way in working on reform. Good education is most important part of government. 

Illinois Education Association president spoke. The state raised income tax to help fund education. The state was a safe haven for legislators from Wisconsin and Indiana. Introduced committee who organized RA.

We listened to debate about amendments to the standing rules. These must be changed before addressing other business, because they govern how the work of the RA will be done.  We finally adopted the standing rules, with 2 of the 6 amendments passing.
An inspiring speech was given by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
Nominations for NEA elections are were made.  Dennis Van Roekel is running for president again. He is opposed by Mark Airgood. Lily Eskelsen is running for re-election as vice president and her opponent is Ceretsa Smith.  There are 5 candidates running for 2 executive board positions. Earl Wiman, Tania Kappner, Len Paolilo, Ed Guzman, and Princess Moss.
In the afternoon, the "Wisconsin 14" were honored for leaving the state to block a vote on anti-union bills. There is a recall election in Wisconsin for 9 or the 33 state senators. An NEA Board Member is running for one of those seats.
Then came the new business items. The first about the reauthorization of ESEA passed.
Next item was about a Save Our Schools Rally that has been organized for July 30 in Washington DC and it passed.
One about Arne Duncan and how his actions that have alienated teachers passed.
An item to have NEA file a lawsuit over the unconstitutionality of the sanctions against failing schools failed.
An item to professionalize substitute teaching passed.
A charge to NEA to investigate electronic voting options failed.
An item about tracking the amount of money new business items cost and keeping a running total was referred to RA Committee.
A request to have a countdown clock for speakers to see so they can best manage their speaking time failed.
Analyzing public desire for "value added" teacher evaluation and accountability passed.
To change the definition of "high-performing" which does not include the use of test results passed.
Wait to endorse President Obama for re-election until January 2012 failed.
The last item today was to accept the financial and audit reports.  These are some of the highlights.  NEA current asset to liability ratio is 3.44:1. This is excellent! Unrestricted net assets are at $159 million up from $143 million last year. NEA membership is down 30,000 people. Student and retired membership numbers are up.  NEA is fiscally sound. Expect to experience membership growth again.  Budget modifcations of $17 million are needed to balance budget. There will be reductions in staff and staff benefits, travel and conference expenses, and less paper by going digital. The budget is 1/3 staff, 1/3 state and local projects, and 1/3 NEA programs.  Adoption of financial reports passed.
These are long days, but I am learning a lot!

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