The National Education Association gave its annual "America's Greatest Education Governor Award" this year to Maryland's Martin O'Malley. As governor, he's overseen record increases in K-12 education spending, the provision of school-construction funds, and the creation of an independent labor board to handle bargaining disputes, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said during his introduction. (Formerly, such disputes were resolved by the State Board of Education.) O'Malley's speech mostly reiterated those accomplishments. But it also contained a few interesting tidbits, and omissions: • He took a swipe at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who's had an acrimonious relationship with the NEA's state...


Christy Levings, the chair of the National Education Association's ESEA Advisory Committee, gave union members an update today on the NEA's progress in advancing changes to the law, currently known as No Child Left Behind. Her presentation was notable more for calling on the delegates to the NEA's Representative Assembly to beef up their lobbying than for any specifics she provided on the union's progress so far. It was clear, though, that the union does not want to see the Race to the Top or the Education Department's four school-turnaround models included in the rewrite. "We need to get ESEA ...


The National Education Association is quietly turning green. For easy recycling, the representative assembly's internal newspaper, RA Today, is devoid of color and pictures and news stories this year: It prints just the resolutions. And delegates can access it through electronic channels rather than picking up paper copies. And for the first year, the union has "green delegates." About 1,000 of the union's around 9,000 delegates have opted out of the traditional printed materials that delegates receive. Instead, they download all of the convention materials from a website. The union hopes to have even more green delegates next ...


NEA delegates approved a resolution in which the union takes a position of 'no confidence' in the Race to the Top and other U.S. Department of Education plans.


That issue was essentially at the heart of quite a bit of protracted debate on New Business Item 1. The original resolution would have directed the National Education Association to prepare and launch a major public relations strategy to "revive public confidence" in public schools. Major media buys put the cost of such a campaign at $52 million, or over a third of the NEA's current operating budget. "It costs money to put this message out," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said. "It is not, 'Write it, and they will come.' " Unless, of course, you're talking about viral social ...


Dennis Van Roekel's Keynote, take two! Near the end of his keynote address to the National Education Association Representative Assembly, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel called for the creation of a new commission—to be called the Commission on Effective Teaching—that would address "questions that have been avoided for far too long." "What would the profession look like if we, the union, actually controlled teacher training, induction and licensure, evaluation, and professional development? How do we ensure that all teachers are prepared to enter the profession and then are supported, especially in their first years?" he asked. The commission,...


The NEA president's keynote address is always the highlight of the first day of the National Education Association's Representative Assembly. This year's has got to have been a particularly difficult one to put together. A lot of delegates clearly have an ax to grind with Barack Obama, and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel needed to address that. After all, it's important to show your members that their dues are going toward something. But while it's easy enough to get delegates fired up against a Republican president, it's an order of magnitude riskier to do so when it involves a Democratic ...


Several new business items to be debated this afternoon by the National Education Association's Representative Assembly focus squarely on criticizing or opposing elements of the Obama administration's education agenda.


Teacher Beat will be in New Orleans for the National Education Association's annual Representative Assembly, then head to Seattle for the American Federation of Teachers' biennial convention.


The feisty president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, called this morning to give me an earful about the debate on Capitol Hill over the $10 billion edujobs fund. As my colleague Alyson Klein reported extensively yesterday, some of those dollars would be funded by offsetting appropriations for the Teacher Incentive Fund and the Race to the Top. Now, Weingarten is furious that the Department of Education wants to preserve those programs. "The department was all for saving jobs until it was their pet programs or pet projects that have to share in some of the pain," she ...


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