Despite the California delegation's efforts, the union steered cleared of language that would have gone against Obama and Duncan's attempts to convert low-performing schools into charters.

In his first keynote before the Representative Assembly as president of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel plays up his role as the head of a "union," not just a professional organization.

How do you make sure you don't get lost in a crowd of 9,000 delegates? Wear your state-delegation T-shirt. It's become something of a tradition for each state delegation to wear specially designed shirts over the course of the Representative Assembly, especially on the first day. Some affiliates opt for a political design: This year, the California Teachers Association's shirt says "NCLB: Erase, rewrite, reauthorize" on the front and "Learning is more than a test score ... and so is teaching" on the back. The fun-loving Ohio Education Association picked bright Hawaiian-style shirts. (Given the design, at first I thought "OEA"...

The NEA may speak publicly with a single voice, but delegates have different views on policies, based on their reactions to the education secretary's speech yesterday.

While some saw the speech as "tough love" for the teachers' unions, the Obama administration clearly telegraphed its intentions to push hard on issues like performance pay, seniority, and tenure in the stimulus legislation, and that passed months ago.

The NEA's resolutions do not endorse any type of incentive pay other than bonuses for teachers who earn National Board certification. Delegates are a different story, and their reactions [to Duncan's speech] will be interesting to watch.

Today I head down to San Diego for the National Education Association's Representative Assembly, which begins in earnest on July 3. What will this year's NEA assembly bring? Without a doubt, we'll see plenty of debate on internal NEA policies. We'll probably continue to see the union criticize the No Child Left Behind Act: The union's ESEA Committee expected to make another report this session. We may even get a couple of interesting resolutions that highlight the union's sense of its own purpose and mission, as we did about private pre-K providers last year. This year also marks Dennis Van ...

The University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research has a new study out on teacher turnover in the Windy City, and it's pretty grim stuff, according to this news story. In about 100 of the schools, over half the teaching force leaves every year, the report found. Also, small schools tend to exacerbate turnover compared to larger schools, the story says, in what could portend some problems for the city's Renaissance 2010 initiative in which smaller schools is one key strategy. The report also examines factors such as teacher qualifications, crime and safety, levels of parental engagement, and school ...

The District of Columbia public schools just announced that six teachers have begun a five-week fellowship in the central administrative office. They'll be scattered among a variety of divisions, including special education, data & accountability, and human capital. The press release says the initiative is designed to "ensure teachers' voices are always present in central decisionmaking at the central office." I'll be interested in hearing more about these teachers as they progress through their fellowships. Will they come with some notions about the administration that will be overturned? Or will those notions be reinforced? More than 150 teachers applied for the ...

As a reporter, it's always irritating to discover that another paper has beaten you to a story you've had in mind, in this case following a teacher through the peer-assistance and -review process. Nevertheless, this Washington Post article is a pretty thorough look at things in Montgomery County, Md., and includes a glimpse at the PAR panel that makes the call on whether to renew teachers or proceed with dismissal....

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