Here is an additional video from today’s proceedings. It shows the general carrying-on just prior to Barack Obama’s speech (available here). It also has NEA President Reg Weaver shouting “O! O!” for Obama, but he sounds more like a sea lion begging for food. Judge for yourself:
The regular business is being accomplished in an expedited manner. The constitutional amendment to allow non-educators to join NEA (what I’ve called the NEA Booster Club) was defeated for the third year in a row. The delegates did agree to open membership to those employed in public or private pre-school programs, but shot down an attempt to open membership to private elementary or secondary school employees.
The delegates approved New Business Item 32, which essentially directs the NEA President to send a nastygram to Domino’s Pizza CEO David Brandon, castigating him for “his misguided support of merit pay for teachers,” among other things. Apparently you can only get away with such opinions if you run for President on the Democratic Party ticket.
Delegates decided not to recognize Norwegian Constitution Day, withdrew a request to create an NEA MySpace account (when it was discovered that the union has had a MySpace account for, oh, about 15 months), and withdrew a legislative amendment to support subsidizing solar panels.
In keeping with the tone of the day, the delegates added “incentive pay” to the list of types of pay the union opposes. The new sentence will read:
“NEA opposes… federal initiatives that mandate or promote traditionally defined merit pay or incentive pay schemes or other pay-for-performance systems that link teacher compensation to student achievement.”
It’s important to highlight this sentence because you will hear a lot of talk about opposing performance pay based on student test scores, or even on a single test score. The actual language of the NEA position makes no distinction on that basis. The union opposes linking teacher compensation to student achievement, however defined.