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Teachers to Descend on Washington, Chicago


It’s that time of year again: the NEA Representative Assembly begins July 3 in Washington, followed by the AFT’s biennial meeting in Chicago July 11. This is where teachers from the national unions’ state and local affiliates get together to do serious union work at what looks like a giant party.

Most years, there’s little that goes on at these mammoth and raucous, yet well-orchestrated sessions that’s surprising: There’s a lot of NCLB-bashing, plenty of discussion on national and internal union policy, debate on a handful of resolutions that critics contend have little to do with education, and in the end, members vote on numerous other resolutions pretty much the way one expects them to vote. Even the election of top leaders, as will happen this year at both the NEA and AFT, is fully devoid of nail-biting suspense.

Still, in a room filled with thousands of teachers, just about anything is possible. And Education Week will be at both conventions this year to keep you updated. Stay tuned.


I guess another session of NCLB-bashing might help union officials feel that they are doing something for the good of the kids. I wonder when they will step up to the bat and make statements about how professional educators will take responsibility and be accountable for the education of all children. If professional educators can prove, in some meaningful facshion and without making excuses for students' backgrounds, that students are learning and succeeding in school, the unions would have served a valuable function as organizations of professionals. Otherwise, they're just a bunch of whiners trying to get what they can without producing what the country expects of them. These are the wods of a professional educator.

Well, it is obvious that neither Dave nor Vaishali have ever attended an NEA Representative Assembly. If you had, you'd see dedicated volunteers giving up to 12 hours a day or more to address many issues of importance to educators and educational support personnel. These topics include the impact of NCLB but are not limited and certainly not whining... did you know there are tributes to the best in our field? Did you know that NEA and the 10,000 in attendance remember and honor those who perished serving our students? Do you know we select leaders who will defend our rights to fair pay to be able to support our families? There is so much more. There is business being done, and information to share. Please do not smear the process by calling it a party.

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