More on Substance
Recent columns have mentioned two main types of business that comes before the RA. With today’s session things begin to become more complicated as other types of business come to the fore. Here’s a quick primer about some of the types of items that come up at the RA.
Constitution and Bylaws Amendments: These are amendments to the basic governing documents of NEA.
- Amendments to the NEA Constitution must be submitted the year before they will be voted on. Amendments proposed for next year must be submitted by the end of the secenth session, which is the morning session tomorrow.
- Amendments to the NEA Bylaws must be submitted 120 days before the Annual Meeting at which they are to be considered.
One of the recurring themes in these amendments is proportional representation. Delegates will vote today on an amendment to remove the Constitutional requirement that classroom teachers constitute 75% of the members of virtually all committees and on a Bylaws amendment requiring that state delegations to the NEA RA be allocated proportionally among various categories of members. OEA’s delegates have voted to support the first and oppose the second.
Another Constitutional amendment to change the frequency of the RA from annual to triannual has been withdrawn. Voting on Constitution and Bylaws issues takes place today.
Elections: President Dennis Van Roekel is term-limited as President, and delegates elected Vice President Lily Eskelsen Garcia as President yesterday with 94% of the vote. Delegates elected Secretary-Treasurer Rebecca Pringle as Vice President with 92% of the vote and Princess Moss as Secretary-Treasurer with 53% of the vote.
Two positions on the NEA Executive Committee are to be elected this year. There were five candidates; each delegate gets two votes. At NEA, pluralities don’t win; candidates must get a majority. Incumbent Earl Wiman was re-elected, and delegates will choose today between the next two vote-getters, George Sheridan and Shelly Moore. The Ohio caucus voted this morning to endorse Moore.
A group calling itself the EON/BAMN caucus (Equal Opportunity Now/By Any Means Necessary) ran candidates for President, VP, and XC, receiving 6%, 8%, and 7% of the votes respectively. EON/BAMN candidates advocate more general liberal positions and confrontation rather than compromise, a tension which characterizes much of the debate at the Representative Assembly.
New Business Items: In yesterday’s “Notes from Camp” I noted what seem to be some themes in the New Business Items that have been submitted here. We have more NBIs than we’ve seen in a long time: by the noon deadline yesterday, a whopping 107 NBIs had been submitted in addition to the three lettered NBIs that were submitted earlier on behalf of the Board of Directors. DVR is working hard to keep the delegates on task so that the RA has a chance of ending at a reasonable time tomorrow.
Legislative Amendments, Resolutions, and Policy Statements: These are policy documents which come up for renewal each year. In each case, the RA considers amendments, which can be submitted by various committees or by delegates.
- NEA has a Legislative Agenda which comes up for adoption each year. This year’s amendments will be voted on at this morning’s session, and then the Legislative Agenda will be adopted as amended.
- Resolutions are statements of NEA policy or principle. Each year the Resolutions Committee and members submit amendments. This year’s Resolutions will be up for consideration this afternoon, and eventually adopted with whatever changes the delegates approve.
- Policy Statements are documents that control and coordinate NEA’s positions as embodied in the Legislative Agenda, Resolutions, and New Business Items. Those are up for amendment this afternoon as well. This afternoon, delegates will consider amendments to NEA Policy Statements on Charter Schools, Kindergarten and Prekindergarten, Teacher Evaluation and Accountability, and Digital Learning.