December 13, 2010
For nomination papers and more information visit http://www.neapeaceandjustice.org/content/paul-mann-youth-activism-award
December 12, 2010
Reza Shahabi, a leading member of an independent but unrecognized trade union in Iran, remains detained in Evin Prison, Tehran, where he has begun a hunger strike. Although Saeed Torabian, another leading member, was released on 20 July, other union members have since been arrested, bringing the total in prison to six.
On December 7, the House passed the bipartisan DREAM Act by a vote of 216-198. The bill gives eligible young people the opportunity to resolve their immigration status and work towards citizenship.
On December 8, the Senate voted to table action on the bill, as supporters work to secure the 60 votes needed for passage. The Senate could take up the bill again the week of December 13.
Urge your Senators to support the DREAM Act
See how your House member voted on passage of the DREAM Act
See NEA’s co-sponsored ads (ad 1; ad 2; ad 3) in support of the DREAM Act
September 26, 2010
The first Iowa Peace Initiative Conference was held in Dubuque 9/18/10 to celebrate the International Day of Peace established by the United Nations annually on September 21.
Over twenty groups concerned about keeping the peace movement alive were represented by about 200 people. Veterans for Peace and Physicians for Peace and the NEA Peace and Justice Caucus furnished the panel of three presidents/chairs to open the conference.
July 14, 2010
War Supplemental Stalls in the Senate
By Brian Friel, CQ Staff
The must-pass supplemental appropriations bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is stuck in a logjam that could delay action on the Senate floor for a few weeks, a key Senate Democrat said.
July 13, 2010
July 3, 2010
The following New Business Item was actively supported by the NEA Peace and Justice Caucus it failed on a very close floor vote:
"Afghanistan and Reallocation of Federal Resources"
The NEA will call on the U.S. Government to end its war and occupation in Afghanistan and begin a safe and orderly withdrawal of all troops, contractors, and weaponry.
June 23, 2010
June 22, 2010
June 3, 2010
1. Preside at all meetings of the NEA P&J, the Board of Directors, and the annual Delegate Caucus;
2. Appoint the chairperson and members of all standing and special committees, except as otherwise provided in the bylaws, with the approval of the Board of Directors;
3. Make recommendations to the Board of Directors for interim appointments;
4. Be the spokesperson and official representative for the caucus;
5. Perform all duties usually prescribed for this office and those designated by the Board of Directors;
6. Make appointments to vacated board positions with the approval of the board at the next meeting of the Board of Directors;
7. Shall have organizational and strategic oversight; and
8. With the treasurer, shall approve and make expenditures within the purviews of the annual budget.
1. Assume all duties and responsibilities of the chairperson upon absent resignation, or inability of the chairperson to perform such duties;
2. Assist regional directors in the fulfillment of their roles, and
3. Serve as vice chair on the Board of Directors.
1. Record and keep a record of the proceedings of the meetings of the caucus and Board of Directors;
2. Report such proceedings and reports as stipulated by the caucus or the Board of Directors;
3. Establish and maintain a record of the officers and committee members;
4. Serve as Secretary on the Board of Directors, and
5. Secure and maintain an updated copy of the constitution, bylaws, and standing rules of the NEA P&J Caucus.
1. Receive, record, and disburse all monies of the caucus;
2. Maintain the financial account of the organization;
3. Make a financial report to each meeting of the Board of Directors, the Delegate Caucus, and such other financial reports as required;
4. Disburse checks and make expenditures within the purviews and spending limits of the annual budget.
5. Recommend the budget to the Board of Directors;
6. Have fundraising oversight, and
7. Serve as treasurer to the Board of Directors.
1. Coordinate activities within his/her region.
2. Conduct an annual meeting at the NEA Regional Conference.
3. Serve on the NEA P&J Caucus Board of Directors.
4. Serve as liaison between the region and the NEA P&J Caucus.
5. Recruit/coordinate memberships in designated regions.
6. Collect, record, and return membership forms collected (white copies only) to membership co-chairs.
7. Send money collected to treasurer – checks only.
8. Disseminate information/materials.
9. Maintain a regional master list.
10. Communicate with membership co-chairs.
1. Design, organize, and coordinate membership recruitment.
2. Establish and maintain membership lists.
3. Communicate with regional directors and caucus chair.
1. Design and coordinate the floor strategy for the NEA Representative Assembly.
2. Recruit speakers and mike yielders.
1. Edit the newsletter.
2. Solicit and write articles.
3. Coordinate the printing and mailing of newsletter to members at least three times a year.
BOOTH COORDINATORS (at RA):
1. Coordinate the exhibition and non-profit booth spaces.
2. Purchase and supply materials.
3. Coordinate the volunteers for staffing the booth.
• Disseminate information/materials.
• Collect/Return membership forms and envelopes to regional directors at RA.
• Recruit members.
• Communicate with regional director.
• Communicate with caucus.
MEMBERSHIP COLLECTION PROCESS AT NEA RA
1. Collect large envelopes from membership co-chairs.
2. Disseminate small envelopes to state contacts.
3. Record information.
4. Save yellow copies for records while white copies go to membership co-chairs.
5. Turn in daily collections to membership co-chairs and/or treasurer.
1. Turn in daily envelopes to regional directors.
2. Inform directors of any concerns, etc.
1. Collect membership forms/record method of payment.
2. Place in the regional envelopes.
3. Turn in to co-chairs and/or treasurer.
FLOOR STRATEGIST DUTIES AT RA:
1. Ask the NEA copy room to make several copies (10-20+) of this document (2 sides, 1 sheet) and collect names for each microphone. (If there aren't 40, deletions or additions can be made either electronically or with white out or pen/pencil before you make this first set.)
2. After each mike has a yielder, make enough copies of that one for each issue for which we'll be doing floor strategy.
3. Circle the appropriate category and fill in its number and the names of the maker, seconder, and additional speakers.
4. Make about 50+ copies of each of these to distribute to each mike yielder, the speakers, and others helping with floor strategy.
May 26, 2010
Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one.
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.
“Breathe”, Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon
Lyrics by Roger Waters
One of America ’s preeminent education writers , asked in the September 19, 2007 issue of : “Is the main mission of schools really to prepare children to be productive workers who will do their part to increase the profitability of their future employers? Every time education is described as an ‘investment,’ or schools are discussed in the context of the ‘global economy,’ a loud alarm ought to go off, reminding us of the moral and practical implications of giving an answer in dollars to a question about schools.”
A politician’s beliefs about the true purposes of education are a fundamentally important issue that shines a bright light upon the policies he or she will pursue in office. Coming on the heels of 16 years of federal education policy that has put corporations at the forefront of policy development and the democratic purposes of education on the back burner, Obama’s approach is nothing new. However, given that he won election on the theme of change and on the backs of hard-working members of teacher’s unions, it is disturbing to note the singular emphasis he places upon the economic purposes of public education to the outright exclusion of the democratic ends.
Nowhere on the President’s “ In fact, the “Education Issues” page of the site begins with these words:, for example, does he discuss the democratic purposes of education.
“At this defining moment in our history, preparing our children to compete in the global economy is one of the most urgent challenges we face. We need to stop paying lip service to public education, and start holding communities, administrators, teachers, parents and students accountable.”
On the President’s White House page, under the heading “Guiding Principles” for education we find these words:
“Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America ’s economic future. Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the 21st Century education that will prepare all children for success in the new global workplace” depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career... President Obama will reform America’s public schools to deliver a
Since becoming president, Obama has pursued these ends with great vigor, turning over the shaping of federal education policy to corporate interests who have unveiled Race to the Top as their first major offensive. national education policy.” The evidence is persuasive: has gone so far as to say that corporate interests are “directing
- Renaissance 2010 reform initiative in Chicago , in one publications opinion was all about “…shuttering public schools, replacing them with privatized or militarized schools, shutting out teachers' unions and taking power away from community members and citizens - all on the recommendation of the city's corporate elite.” As Obama’s choice for Secretary of Education, he is now the Elmer Gantry of federal/corporate education huckstering. http://www.truthout.org/041509B ’s signature
- Joanne Weiss, chief operating officer of the New Schools Venture Fund was appointed to run the Race to the Top grant competition. Jim Horn, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at referred to the New Schools Fund as “…a vast web of corporate and corporate foundation cash strategically invested in the cause of privatizing education, all the while collecting huge tax credits for…vulture philanthropists.” http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/04/race-to-top-and-politics-of-corruption.html
- The Tennessee and Delaware . That should come as no surprise since in Horn’s words, “ has been intimately involved in the financing of Race to the Top initiatives at the state level providing significant funding to all of the 16 finalists chosen for the first round of the competition and the eventual Round One winners, Not only does Gates have the house keys at the Department of Ed where the Gates and Broad Foundations have set up shop, but the Foundation has also tutored each state in how to write grants to fit the criteria of judging that /his/ Foundation ‘helped’ to develop.” http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/04/how-bill-gates-won-race-to-top-and-why.html
- Obama has received his marching orders on education policy from Democrats for Education Reform who have uncomfortable ties with far right, anti-union organizations like the American Enterprise Institute who have long championed privatization. Three of DFER’s four founders sit on the boards of Charter Schools while the fourth waits to see if his application to do the same is accepted. http://www.edwize.org/peoples-democratic-republicans-for-education-reform
What are the potential consequences of continuing to cede education policy to corporate interests? Astore, a former military man himself, paints a very grim picture: “What do torture, a major recession, and two debilitating wars have to do with our educational system? My guess: plenty…It's a large claim to make, but as long as we continue to treat students as customers and education as a commodity, our hopes for truly substantive changes in our country's direction are likely to be dashed. As long as education is driven by technocratic imperatives and the tyranny of the practical, our students will fail to acknowledge that precious goal of Socrates: To know thyself -- and so your own limits and those of your country as well. To know how to get by or get ahead is one thing, but to know yourself is to struggle to recognize your own limitations as well as illusions…education should help us to see ourselves and our world in fresh, even disturbing, ways. If we were properly educated as a nation, the only torturing going on might be in our own hearts and minds -- a struggle against accepting the world as it's being packaged and sold to us by the pragmatists, the technocrats, and those who think education is nothing but a potential passport to material success.”
This corporate vision of education isn’t why we entered the profession. As The Shame of the Nation, good teachers “…refuse to see their pupils as…pint sized deficits or assets for America ’s economy into whom they are expected to pump ‘added value”. reminds us in
Educators have a duty to resist the corporatization of our schools. As Alfie Kohn has written: “Our loyalty, after all, is not to corporations but to children. Our chief concerns—our ‘bottom line’ if you must—is not victory for some, but learning for all.”
Merrill Middle SchoolDes Moines, IA
April 9, 2010
The motion still failed on the floor, but at least we got an up-or-down vote. We will be working in the months to come to frame our issues and make sure the focus is clearly related to education as we bring forward NBI's at the NEA RA and future ISEA DA's.
If you have any ideas please let us know.
January 26, 2010
P&J Midwest Director
Midwest Caucus for Peace and Justice – Saturday January 22, 2010
Tom Wolfe called to order the meeting at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis at 7:20 AM. He explained the caucus and the goals that we have, reminding us that membership is the lifeblood of the caucus and that state contacts make this happen. When the state contacts are known before the RA and will work at the RA to get new members, it is most helpful.
Introductions: Nancy Porter is the national chair, Carol Kula is the floor manager at the RA, Roberta Rosheim is recording secretary for this meeting, Josh Wager is the national website author, Josh Brown and Andrew Rasmussen are the Midwest Blog authors, a state contact that was present was Carol Kula from IA. Nineteen people were in attendance: Michelle Cooper, Bryan Milz, Roberta Rosheim, Nancy Porter, Andrew Rasmussen, Joshua Brown, Michele Cooper, Erin Hinds, Bev Stolfus, Carol Kula, Gail Maison, Jodi Tupper, Joshua Wager, Stacey Kimberlin, Kristen Henningfeld, Curt Christenson, Rich Baldwin, Tom Mc Laughlin and Tom Wolfe.
Tom announced who the state contacts are: Germaine Light from IL, Rhondalyn Cornett from IN, Carol Kula from IA, Mary Anne Schwartz fro MI, Kimberly Corbert from MN, co-contacts Rebecca Bauer and Clara Hutchinson from MN, Lori Zanitsch from MO, and Stephanie Kortyna from WI.
HAITI – There is a fund called El Solidarity Fund for Haiti, which is a good opportunity to contribute directly to help teachers in Haiti. There are no administrative costs. Send donations to
Haiti Earthquake RecoveryConstitution: Tom said there might be recommendations for changes in the Constitution because Retired dues are currently $5 and just one newsletter costs $3 to send out. State caucuses now need 50 members and there are only 3: California, Iowa, and Washington. States creating their own P&J caucuses must elect their own state chairs. In return, they will receive rebates from the national P&J Caucus to support states.
National Education Association
1201 16th Street NW, Suite 614
Washington DC 20036
Websites: Josh Wager is the author of the national website. There is a blog and the newsletters are on it, and the Paul Mann Award for Youth Activism is explained and announced. He is working on the format now.
Andrew Rasmussen and Joshua Brown talked about the Midwest website. Andrew thanked Tom McLaughlin for helping to improve it. Andrew puts articles on the website, and he wants people to post comments so there can be discussions. It is a way to share and organize events and activities. Joshua Brown said it would be great to get people involved from throughout the Midwest.
Gail asked what the purpose of this meeting is. Tom said it is to persuade the NEA to promote our issues, for example to oppose torture, to ensure civil rights for everyone. We bring forth new business items to the Representative Assembly of the NEA. We try to change the climate of the NEA through the Rep Assembly and through state assemblies. Carol Kula said we also influence NEA to support international unions. We must emphasize that war funding affects students and explain how. Tom McLaughlin also mentioned that we are active in Chiapas. We raise money for schools in Chiapas, including one school that is named after an advocate for Chiapas, Paul Mann.
We were encouraged to seek those young people who best exemplify P&J ideals and nominate them for the Paul Mann Youth Activism Award and then recognize them at our various state assemblies here in the Midwest as well as throughout the nation.
Information was shared about the problem of Object to Consideration, which has been used at the RA and in our state assemblies to avoid discussion of our issues. Nancy said that Paul Mann helped to pass a rule in Iowa that the maker of the motion may speak at least once before the vote is taken to Object, a rule that has been in place at the national level for some time. Nevertheless, OCs block debate of our controversial issues, and that is frustrating.
Tom reminded us that our current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are hugely expensive and that it costs 1 million dollars per soldier per year to keep an American soldier in those two countries, money that could go a long way to funding our schools.
Nancy reminded us that we need to get new members and to volunteer to be at the booth. The minutes will be posted on our websites.
When the Executive Committee of the National Peace and Justice Caucus met last fall, it developed its own tentative list of major issues to focus on during this year and to develop a list of new business items around them, but any final list would await input from the regionals. Tom asked for our suggestions to make a list of items we believe are most important in order for the Executive Board to consider them before making its final list.
The items suggested were:
1. Support relief for Haiti;Tom reminded us that we want to effect change in the NEA and then to effect the US Government through lobbying by the NEA. Andrew reminded us to continue this discussion on the blog.
2. Rebuild Haiti and keep an eye on the international effort to rebuild Haiti;
3. To relate each of our issues to public education;
4. Work for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan/
5. Focus on what wars do to people;
6. Promote schools in Afghanistan and use the Pennies for Peace program as a guide;
7. Teach social justice in the classroom and include within the curriculum the teaching of labor history and other examples of social activism; and
8. Promote soap drives for homeless shelters – to donate toiletries from the hotel to local shelters
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 a.m.
Respectfully submitted by Roberta Rosheim
January 25, 2010
Let's help support other organizations in their efforts---spread the word
The Student Peace Alliance engages our communities and policy makers in building sustainable peace. The Student Peace Alliance is active on over 80 campuses in over 30 states and is growing every day. Millions of young Americans are aware of the dangers created by relying solely on brute force to end violence both at home and abroad. We know that peace is more than the absence of war; it is a positive condition in and of itself. The goal of the Student Peace Alliance is to harness the power of this realization, mobilizing its adherents into a serious political constituency.
Our generation must begin to build the culture that supports not only a peaceful tomorrow, but a peaceful today. Student Peace Alliance members partner with local community organizations that are effecting change in the areas of violence prevention and conflict resolution. SPA members work to create an environment on campuses and in local communities that promotes education and discussion about peace building on both the domestic and international levels. SPA also works in close partnership with The Peace Alliance to advocate for breakthrough pieces of legislation, such as the Youth PROMISE Act, and to work towards our goal of establishing an infrastructure in the federal government that makes peace a priority.
Our network aims to create change not only at one level of society, but at all levels by combining a community service approach to building peace locally with a political advocacy approach to sustaining and funding peace through the government.
We, the youth and students of the United States declare that NOW is the time for peace, and NOW is the time for action. The people of the United States are rising up for change, and we the youth stand in solidarity with them. Please join us. While this is not the space to explain our entire philosophy, we encourage you to learn more about the movement by visiting www.studentpeacealliance.org or by joining us on our monthly conference calls. We are always willing to answer any questions or comments you may have!
January 23, 2010
One of the things that is going on at the national level in our caucus is trying to find a focus and set some of our priorities as we work to influence NEA and the world.
Please post any suggestions you have and we will make sure to share those ideas with our national caucus chair and the rest of the NEA Peace and Justice executive board.
Once we have some topics from you, we can begin to discuss those ideas out as well on this blog to create action items to be implemented at the local, state, and national levels.
We are only as strong as those who join us and get involved so please share your ideas.