NEA Representative Assembly 2015: What Happened to Playing the Long Game?

This morning’s agenda unfolded slowly. NBI 5, which would have put NEA squarely behind the opt-out movement, was defeated. Then there was about 45 minutes devoted to NBI 6, which would have organized a march and rally in Washington DC at next year’s convention. The projected cost was $1.2 million, which was a major factor in its defeat.

NEA executive director John Stocks delivered his annual speech, and in the interest of reducing my usual level of snarkiness, I’ll simply direct you to the full text of his remarks.

It’s both a blessing and a curse to remember the events of past RAs, and I seem to recall that Stocks’ theme last year had to do with NEA’s skill at “playing the long game.” He was convinced the union would weather the storm and return stronger than ever.

Today, eight months after virtually all of NEA’s endorsed candidates lost in national and gubernatorial elections, Stocks is now convinced that the union and America are in the midst of a “movement moment” that will lead to a “new American majority” devoted to a panoply of progressive causes.

He concluded by shouting, “NEA, this is our time! This is our moment! This is our movement!”

It seemed odd, considering NEA is expending considerable effort – even at this RA – tamping down the most progressive elements of its own membership.

This afternoon, delegates will debate constitutional and bylaws amendments that they will vote on by secret ballot tomorrow morning. These all have significant ramifications for NEA, dealing with full representation for merged state affiliates, making the RA biennial, making permanent the special assessment for the ballot initiative and media funds, and devoting funds to organize charter schools.

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One thought on “NEA Representative Assembly 2015: What Happened to Playing the Long Game?”

  1. There has traditionally been a lack of progressive leadership in the NEA, and this report makes it sound like that remains unchanged. This is particularly discouraging in that new President Garcia has said some strikingly hopeful things with regard to the opt-out movement and the need to end “toxic testing”, and while the teachers’ unions probably shouldn’t go so far as to endorse the breaking of federal education law, they should be making clear, at this critical moment, the need to change the fundamental mistake in current education law in the United States, which is the federal annual testing mandate.

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