NEA Convention 2012: The Missing
posted at 8:02 pm on July 2, 2012 by Mike Antonucci
The 2012 National Education Association Representative Assembly opened this morning in front of 7,403 delegates. They were greeted with the NEA theme song and the news that in place of President Barack Obama there would be a speech tomorrow by the nation’s official consolation prize, Vice President Joe Biden.
The security procedures are such that I may have to ditch it as I did last year, so let me apologize in advance if something historic happens and I miss it.
By being a no-show I will follow in the footsteps of the 2012 NEA Friend of Education award winner, Paul Krugman. Krugman wasn’t here to receive his award, nor did he tape a video message, nor did he send a written note of thanks to deliver to the delegates. Instead, NEA cobbled together a handful of clips from The Colbert Report in which Krugman mentioned hiring more teachers, and New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi read excerpts from Krugman’s columns. Maybe Krugman is spending the 4th at the Tilted Kilt with last year’s winners.
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s keynote speech was even more vanilla than last year’s, so let’s move on to the state of the association.
We received confirmation that the national union was working with 70 fewer staffers – most of whom accepted a retirement incentive – that constituted 148,000 lost hours. That math doesn’t add up for me, but the extent is more important than the exact number.
The union has used the bulk of its $3 million contingency fund for the past two years to help balance its budget, and is prepared to do the same for the next two years.
We also finally got a count of how many NEA members are classroom teachers. I get asked this question a lot, but the union normally aggregates teachers with other certified professionals – guidance counselors, speech pathologists, specialists and the like. Today the delegates were told that about 1,441,000 NEA members are working classroom teachers.
I’m still trying to get the state-by-state membership numbers, but I do have two-week-old national numbers, courtesy of this slide:
A reminder that teachers’ unions lose members over the summer, and then add to the ranks as the school year starts. So the low point won’t be reached until Labor Day.
There wasn’t much additional business conducted today, but the delegates did approve a series of items drafted by the NEA board of directors, including NBI A, which spelled out the union’s plans for leading the education professions. One paragraph originally read…
Lead efforts to fund and establish a coalition of teachers’ professional organizations, higher education professional associations and faculty, education support professional organizations, specialized instructional support personnel organizations (e.g. school social workers, psychologists etc.), and other organizations promoting standards of professional practice with the goal of identifying a universally accepted body of rigorous standards for all of the education professions
…but a delegate from California asked that the word “rigorous” be deleted from the last line. No delegate objected and the item passed overwhelmingly without the word.
Quote of the Day: “Times have been bad before, but they’ve never been this bad.” – NEA vice president Lily Eskelsen.