Notes from Camp, July 5, 2012

This was the final day of the Representative Assembly and the final caucus day for state delegations. The main work of the Ohio caucus was to preview as many as possible of the fifty New Business Items remaining for discussion at the Representative Assembly later today. (The RA was scheduled to finish consideration of NBIs and NEA’s budget for 2012-14.) As it happened, the Ohio caucus didn’t finish considering its positions on all 89 NBIs, leaving it up to the delegates to consider what they heard from the speakers and any advice they received from Ohio leadership.

My listing these here is something of artistic device: on the RA floor, these are almost never considered in a nice, neat single group as I show them here. For planning purposes, the RA is divided into eight sessions, two per day: standing rules require delegates to devote  90 minutes to NBIs at sessions 2 through 7, so in reality the consideration is divided into chunks. Nonetheless, here’s the roundup of the NBIs from this final day:

NBI 40: transparency in food labeling. OEA opposed, and the RA defeated.
NBI 41: monitor messages from teacher education organizations regarding teacher unionism. OEA supported, and the RA adopted.
NBI 42: inform members and public about changes in student loan law regarding bankruptcy. OEA opposed, but the RA adopted.
NBI 43: research affiliate policies regarding substitute teachers. OEA supported, and the RA adopted.
NBI 44: prepare a report on moving the RA to another weekend in July. OEA opposed, and the RA defeated.
NBI 45: publish a checklist of criteria for charter schools. OEA opposed, and the RA defeated.
NBI 46: NEA President to send letter encouraging the US Department of Education to increase research on bullying. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 47: identify successful interventions on taunting related to sexual orientation. OEA supported, and the RA adopted.
NBI 48: disseminate information on USDE “Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education.” OEA supported, and the RA adopted.
NBI 49: support addition of sexual orientation and gender identity to race, ethnicity, and national origin as specifically enumerated categories of protection. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 50: gather and disseminate information on Long Term English Learners. OEA opposed, but the RA adopted.
NBI 51: support anti-bullying measures including three identified components. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 52: provide tools to assist in combating Teach for America in school district contracts. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 53: assist affiliates in planning for policy changes under the ACA and continued support for a single-payer health care program. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 54: improve nutritional value and labeling of meal options as Annual Meeting sites. Referred to the Annual Meeting Review Committee.
NBI 55: use more appropriate terms instead of “adjunct” for higher education teachers. OEA opposed, and the motion was withdrawn.
NBI 56: advocate for proper planning and preparation time for paraprofessionals. Referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 57: NEA President to write a letter to state lawmakers supporting public pension plans. OEA opposed; referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 58: support a maximum teacher load of 150 students in secondary core tested subject areas. OEA opposed; referred to the appropriate committee.
NBI 59: provide PTSD information through the NEA website, Health Information Network, or NEA Today.  OEA supported, and the RA adopted.
NBI 60: establish a Disaster Crisis Fund. Referred to appropriate committee.
NBI 61: support a National Day of Political Action. No OEA position, and the RA defeated.
NBI 62: charter school organizing program. OEA opposed, but the RA adopted.
NBI 63: IDEA full-funding plan. OEA opposed, but the RA adopted.
NBI 64: offer a Friends of Public Education card to the general public. OEA supported; referred to the Executive Committee.
NBI 65: support for the federal Dream Act. OEA supported; referred to the Executive Committee.
NBI 66: comparison of teacher positions. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 67: support for constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision. No OEA position, and the RA adopted.
NBI 68: provision of wireless internet on the RA floor for exclusive use by “green delegates.” No OEA position; referred to the Annual Meeting Committee.
NBI 69: proviskion of charging stations on the RA floor for exclusive use by “green delegates.” No OEA position; referred to the Annual Meeting Committee.
NBI 70: support for First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Initiative.” No OEA position; referred to the executive Committee.
NBI 71: coordinated framework of pro-public education, pro-collective bargaining policies to be shared among state affiliates. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 72: use technology to replace the current system for seeking recognition from the RA floor. No OEA position; referred to the Annual Meeting Review Committee.
NBI 73: provide written detail of the calculation of estimated costs of NBIs. No OEA position; the RA defeated.
NBI 74: encourage participation in the New Priorities Campaign. No OEA position; the RA sustained an objection to consideration.
NBI 75: support integration and affirmative action plans in higher education. OEA supported; referred to the Executive Committee.
NBI 76: recruit itinerant (multiple-district) teachers and encourage state affiliates to do likewise. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 77: tell the story of NEA lobbyists. No OEA position ; the RA adopted.
NBI 78: advocate full funding of English Language Learner (ELL) programs. No OEA position; referred to the Executive Committee.
NBI 79: condemn the growing segregation of public schools. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 80: show a video presentation at each RA about the 1966 merger between the American Teachers Association and NEA. No OEA position; referred to the Annual Meeting Committee.
NBI 81: encourage members to participate in and support the annual International Day of Peace on September 21. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 82: collect and publish data quantifying the “true cost of testing.” No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 83: attempt to avoid hotels providing only cable news programs supporting one political viewpoint. No OEA position; withdrawn by the maker.
NBI 84: encourage opposition to the American Legislative Exchange Council. No OEA position’ referred to the Executive Committee.
NBI 85: publicize parental “opt out” provisions for testing. No OEA position; the RA defeated.
NBI 86: educate members to distinguish between “independent,  peer-reviewed, unbiased research” and “advocacy research.” No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 87: NEA President to send a letter to President Obama expressing disappointment at the President’s inability to come to the RA. No OEA position; withdrawn by the maker.
NBI 88: investigate and not approve for-profit vendors utilizing the non-profit vending area of the RA. No OEA position; the RA adopted.
NBI 89: NEA president to send a letter of support for the Pulaski Association of Classroom Teachers and the Pulaski Association of Support Staff (Arkansas). No OEA position; referred to the Executive Committee.

A bit of explanation may be in order here.

    • Each NBI comes with a cost analysis. As discussion of New Business Items continues, screens located throughout the hall identify the cumulative cost of the NBIs adopted. The total cost of NBIs adopted by the 2012 RA was $98,824.
    • Either without objection or by formal amendment, many NBIs are modified in some way after their initial submission. Most of the NBIs adopted were adopted in a form modified from the one on which the Ohio caucus took a position. In some cases, Ohio state leadership eventually supported the modified version of an NBI originally opposed by the delegation, and vice versa. When such changes happen, the leadership suggestion is signaled to the delegates before the vote is taken.
    • The best place to get the final text of all items adopted is nea.org/grants/nbis-amendements-resolutions.html.

On this last day of the RA, delegates adopted a biennial budget for NEA which acknowledges the unpleasant reality that NEA’s membership is declining, as a result of increasing class sizes and changes in labor laws that make it more difficult for education unions to keep and members.

As happens every year at the end of the RA, delegates heard the names of those who have announced their candidacy for NEA officer positions to be elected next year. One of those candidates is Jim McClure, an NEOEA member from Mentor Classified, who has announced his candidacy for the NEA Executive Committee.

Every year, thousands of delegates participate in “adjournment pools” to guess the time of the RA’s final adjournment. This year’s RA adjourned at 6:57, which was ten minutes earlier than last year’s adjournment. Of such small steps is progress made!

And now, back to Ohio; and for next year, on to Atlanta!

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About neoeaxd

Bill Lavezzi serves as Executive Director of the North Eastern Ohio Education Association. NEOEA is a professional association of educators consisting of the nearly 31,000 members of the 192 local OEA and NEA affiliates in northeastern Ohio. Founded in 1869 as the North Eastern Ohio Teachers Association, NEOEA took its present name in 1989 in recognition of the diversity of its members.
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