Sunday, July 3, 2011

NEA RA Day 3

This morning was the high security day due to Vice President Joe Biden coming to speak.  It took about 90 minutes to get through the security line.

 From the back of the line looking forward
From the front of the line looking toward the back

We had some time to just talk and wait until everyone came through security so VP Biden could enter and speak. Vice President Joe Biden gave an excellent speech about the "new republican party" and how their underlying philosophy has changed. What he said made a lot of sense.

 Debate happened on a constitutional amendment that would change the percentage of teacher representatives on NEA committees. This is because some committees, depending on their duties, need more representation by student, retired, or ESP members.
Discussion on by-law amendment about NEA not lobbying for or against legislation regarding abortion. NEA does not have a position on abortion. There have been 4 cases where NEA has defended the right of teachers who became pregnant through rape to carry their babies to place for adoption and keep their job.
By-law amendment about broad, overarching statements of purpose did not have much discussion. This is more of a clarifying change.
 The last by-law amendment is about increasing dues $10 for the next 5 years (2016-2017 dues would go down $10) to replenish the NEA Crisis Fund, which has been depleted over the last few years. UEA benefitted from this fund in our fight against vouchers. Many states have used the money recently. This would be $0.84 a month.  We will vote on the constitution and by-law amendments will be done by secret ballot tomorrow.
New business items.  Item to have NEA negotiate free Internet at hotels so delegates can "go green" failed. Item to have NEA create a report of employment data so students know that there are other options in addition to college passed.  Item about NEA's anti-bullying campaign including students and teachers passed. Item directing NEA to publish information from AARP on social security passed.  Item about the outsourcing and privatization of some non-teaching school services (nurses, SLP, OT, PT, psychologists, etc.) passed.  Item about student privacy and parental consent on ASVAB failed.  Item is about the possible endorsement of President Obama for re-election, that should we choose to endorse, that NEA leadership meet with President Obama and express our need for him to listen to teachers on educational matters failed.  Item about boycotting Koch industries referred to Executive Committee.  Item about educating members about corporate America's hostile takeover of the middle class passed.  Item directing NEA to call for the removal of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education failed.
The student members just did a flashmob dance to a pepped up version of "I had the time of my life."
Governor Beshear of Kentucky was honored as the Education Governor of the Year.
More new business items.  Another item against privatization passed.  Item establishing a common reimbursement program for NEA committees referred to Executive Committee.  Item about Scotopic Sensitivity failed.  Item about 25 teacher salaries being paid for with the cost of one bomb. This turned into a debate about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan failed.  Item requesting that NEA celebrate GLBT teachers in the June NEA Today passed.  Item about parents being able to opt students out of high-stakes testing failed.  NEA will establish a position against public school privatization passed.
Now we are going to be discussing the proposed policy statement on teacher accountability and evaluation. Key parts of the policy statement include that teachers should be regularly evaluated by a trained evaluator, have multiple indicators of teacher practice, teacher contribution and growth, and contribution to student learning and growth.
The Evaluations must provide meaningful feedback. JPAS meets all of these criteria. We are fortunate to have a valid and reliable evaluation tool. So many states do not have a formal system, let alone one that is valid and reliable
In addition, Evaluations should be kept confidential, teachers should continually enhance their practice, teachers should have an opportunity to improve if their practice does not meet standards, and if the teacher does not improve, s/he may be counseled to leave teaching or be terminated through a fair dismissal process.
Again, JPAS has all of these items as part of the whole system. We are going to debate this tomorrow. The meeting is adjourned.
I am going to NEA choir practice for sound check. We sing tomorrow on Independence Day.

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