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What to Watch For at NEA's 2012 Convention

It's that time of year again, folks!

This weekend begins our annual coverage of the National Education Association's Representative Assembly, the time when thousands of delegates descend on a city to debate everything from teacher evaluations to latex. Add a pinch of confetti, a dash of line-dancing, stir well, what fun.

This year's NEA convention will be right here in the District of Columbia, as it always is during presidential election years. (This has got to be a not-so-subtle reminder for the president about the power all those potential boots-on-the-ground can have during the election season.)

Here's a list of some of the themes that are likely to come up this year.

• NEA has seen a declining membership and a pinched budget, even as it's dealing with attacks on teachers' collective bargaining. What is the the union leadership doing—both internally and externally—in response to these pressures? And what will the reaction be to these measures?

• Last year, we saw several statements of disapproval for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Teach For America. Will we see additional such statements, or will the union's focus have shifted squarely to the upcoming elections?

• What progress has the NEA made in pushing for improved teacher preparation and evaluations?

• The union voted to back President Obama's re-election last year. Will he repay the union with a surprise appearance this year?

• Given their distaste for things like the federal Race to the Top program, will delegates be enthusiastic to begin their on-the-ground campaigning, come September?

Posts are likely to begin Sunday, July 1. Hope you can join us!

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