The 2014 National Education Association Representative Assembly was gaveled to a close at 6:29 p.m. Here a few of the actions the delegates took on the final day of the convention.
* A new business item to “oppose sectarian conflicts and civil wars in the Middle East” was not considered.
* A new business item to “promote legislation requiring persons who circulate initiative petitions be registered voters of that state” was ruled out of order. I didn’t hear this mentioned, but such legislation might have put a crimp in the signature-gathering of NEA’s own affiliates.
* The delegates approved a measure to draft model state legislative language that would place several new requirements on the operations and reporting requirements of charter schools.
* A new business item that called for a ban on any new charter schools and the conversion of existing ones into traditional schools was ruled out of order since it conflicted with NEA’s current policy statement on charters. Had it been presented and adopted, NEA would have held two mutually contradictory positions on charters.
* Delegates voted down a measure that would have required the union’s board to provide written justification to the delegates whenever NEA’s executive officers received an increase in salary or benefits. Debate was closed after only one speaker.
* Delegates approved a pseudo-boycott of Staples, in solidarity with the American Postal Workers Union, which doesn’t want non-APWU workers handling the mail. It’s a pseudo-boycott because it will only involve a press release encouraging members to shop at other stores for supplies, but doesn’t bind NEA itself. I hear Walmart sells school supplies.
* The union’s policy statement on teacher evaluation and accountability was amended with the sentence “Standardized tests, even if deemed valid and reliable, may not be used to support any employment actions against a teacher.”
* The actions taken by the delegates over the past four days will require about $826,000 in new spending by NEA.
* Delegates contributed an average of $195 each to NEA’s political action committee during the convention, or about $1.4 million. The union’s PAC has raised almost $3.8 million this year.
There is a lot more to tell about what happened, and what will happen, but I’ll provide all of that information gradually over the summer. For now, I’m signing off and heading home. Here’s a little musical accompaniment for my exit. Back with you late tomorrow.