Tuesday, July 5, 2011

NEA RA Day 5

Carrie, my state contact from Tennessee

Today was the last day of NEA business. We had a lot of items to address. We started with legislative amendments. NEA supports eliminating discrimination in immigration laws regarding unmarried partners passed. NEA supports a goal of Medicare for all residents 22 years old and younger passed. Modifying a current legislative priority about harassment to add the word "mobbing" failed.  Another legislative amendment that NEA support legislation that protects children's rights regardless of legal status failed, because it is already covered elsewhere. NEA opposes legislation overriding collective bargaining agreements about seniority failed, because this is already covered elsewhere. NEA supports technology to control wireless devices in the classroom failed.  NEA supports a U.S. Constitutional amendment to state that corporations are not natural persons under the law (as ruled by the Supreme Court) failed. The NEA Legislative Program has been adopted with the amendments.

We heard a speech from Michelle Shearer, high school chemistry teacher from Maryland, who was honored as the National Teacher of the Year. She said to give pep talks, invite people to your classroom, ask higher order questions, and be proud to be a teacher.

New business items. Item about creating a training on NEA history failed. Item on researching elementary truancy and behavior impacting high school drop out rates failed. Item about the words "reform" and "status quo" as related to education failed. Item about having articles in NEA Today about NBCT passed.  Item to publish information on successful media campaigns in NEA Today passed. Item on International Summit of the Teaching Profession" failed. Item on urging Obama campaign to support global education passed. Item on providing data on website about combating attacks on public education passed.  Item to collaborate with teachers in unions around the world passed.

We discussed and debated amendments to resolutions, which have passed as amended.

Susan McFarland, Salt Lake Teachers Association President with SLTA VP and Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, UEA President

Here is a link to the policy statement on teacher evaluation and accountability as approved yesterday at the NEA RA.  NEA.org

NEA Executive Director John Wilson of North Carolina is retiring. He is being replaced by John Stocks of Wisconsin.

More new business items. Item to educate members on problems with limited health plans passed. Item to denounce the loss of seniority passed. Item to fight against fees for essential items failed, due to arguments about tax-cap states. Item about advocating for healthy and adequate school lunch referred to committee.  Item to include world languages in K-12 curriculum passed. Item to encourage participation in "Rebuild the Dream" and moveon.org referred to committee. Item to oppose "Teach for America" contracts when there is no teacher shortage passed. Item to develop a plan to help alleviate budget pressures from unfunded mandates, especially IDEA passed. Item to fund minority community outreach throughout NEA passed.

There were 8,231 delegates with over 4,000 guests. The total cost of new business items was just over $85,700.  We listened to some summary committe reports and speeches from the newly elected officers. Over $1,000,000 was raised for PAC this week. 18,500 messages about education issues were sent to Congress over the last week. Total PAC for the 2010-2011 year is $4,744,000. Official end time 7:07 local time.

Since this was the first time I have attended the RA, I was focused on following the business at hand.  There were lots of special interest caucus meetings I did not attend. It is amazing that nearly 9,000 delegates who represent their local associations can come together, have civil dialogue about issues some feel passionately about, and actually make decisions to guide the organization for the next year.  The democratic process works!

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