1) Coverage of NEA Representative
Assembly Begins July 1. For the 15th consecutive
year, EIA will provide daily gavel-to-gavel coverage from the floor of the
National Education Association Representative Assembly (RA). This year the
convention takes place in Washington, DC. For those of you who are new to
the communiqué, you should know that distribution works a little differently
I will send no e-mail communiqués from
the convention. I will blog each day's events on
Intercepts, which you can check at your convenience, or you can
subscribe to the blog's
RSS feed. If you prefer, go to the Intercepts page, where you can
sign up for blog updates via automatic e-mail. You need only provide your
e-mail address. Feedburner will send you a verification e-mail, then confirm
your subscription. From then on you'll get one, and only one, e-mail per day
with the full text of the content I have added to the blog that day.
The first convention report will be
posted July 1 and each evening thereafter until the convention closes on
The circumstances surrounding this
year's RA are unique. Certainly in the past the union has faced a hostile
national environment, though perhaps not to this extent. But for the first
time we will see delegates deal with an intertwining of NEA's internal and
external problems. The recall defeat in Wisconsin was not just a loss at the
ballot box, but at the cash box. There is now little hope for a membership
Political and fiscal considerations in
the states mean a smaller teacher workforce, and that leads to budget cuts
and staff layoffs within NEA affiliates. In some states, the union has its
own labor unrest.
And as NEA heads into the final few
months before the November election, its early endorsement of President
Obama will remain a bone of contention with those delegates who consider him
an absentee partner at best. In light of this disappointment, NEA's strategy
will be to paint Obama as the union's "goalie" - the backstop for unfriendly
measures from Congress - in the hopes of boosting delegate enthusiasm.
The business of the convention itself
will probably be altered as well. Many of the business items proposed during
the four days of the RA have a dollar amount attached to them. Pricey or
frivolous proposals for action that have slipped by in previous years might
not make the cut this time.
I will be available via e-mail for your
questions and comments during the convention, but please make allowances for
delays in my response. Happy Independence Day!
2) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from June 19-25:
Value Clusters Have a Creamy Nougat Center? What do NEA and its members
have in common?
Confidence Confidential. "Wake up! It's healthy!"
Mount Rushmore: Union Stronghold?. The South Dakota Education
Association leaves the gun, tries to take the cannoli.
AFT, AFL-CIO Withdraw Opposition to Massachusetts Seniority Deal. Bowing
to the inevitable.
Old School. Isn't Harry Kelber too old to be a Young Turk?
Quote of the Week.
"He hasn't gone out of the way to poke the unions in the eye. But he also
understands that if you come off seeming like a teacher-union shill, you
have no chance of winning anything right now."- Joe Williams, executive
director of Democrats for Education Reform, referring to New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo. (June 22
Wall Street Journal)