Until recently, the 2000 National Education Association Representative Assembly (Independence Day weekend in Chicago) was shaping up to be one of the drier events in this year’s education calendar. But actions taken at the union’s board of directors meeting on February 11 and 12 have changed all that. In fact, this year’s RA could be explosive.
EIA has previously reported on the internal debate in NEA over “pay for performance” in general and the Denver pilot program in particular. As predicted, NEA is planning to alter its utter opposition to merit pay. The NEA Professional Standards and Practices Committee presented a proposal to the board to change the language of its policy, which currently reads, “The Association also believes that performance pay schedules, such as merit pay, are inappropriate.” The PSP Committee will work with the Resolutions Committee to hash out under what circumstances performance pay would be acceptable. EIA expects a resolution with about a million ifs, ands and buts, more of which will be added by the RA delegates who will ultimately vote on it this July. Nevertheless, opposition to any change in the policy is already beginning to jell, and we can expect to see another RA battle over “new unionism” and what it all means.