We had some great successes at the 2013 RA. I was able to represent you early at the Retired conference which took place three days before the Rep Assembly kick off in Atlanta, GA. One of the days is set aside to allow teachers, both retired and active, and student NEA groups to work at a school in the area. Be assured "OUTREACH TO TEACH" is a very successful program. The staff at Thomasville Heights Elementary was overwhelmed by the person power and the materials to make a very needed change over. We painted, we cleaned, we organized classrooms, we covered bulletin boards, we opened boxes of materials to be appropriately placed. WE made a positive difference. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of all that.
The Peace and Justice Caucus had a peaceful and obvious presence at the RA. We helped pass several important New Business Items and especially appreciated the help of Iowa covering mics so our speakers could be heard. Jim Patch did an outstanding job of training and making sure mics were covered during important times to yield to speakers on our side of the issue. When you get your RA Today, note that NBIs 35 and 55 and 71 and 90 were PnJ supported. One of our PnJ speakers was a "Dream student" who told about not being able to attend the top 5 universities in GA because of her undocumented status even though she was a valedictorian of her senior HS class (NBI 90). The issue of GMOs offering positive and negative influences in our world, prompted NBI 55 which only asks for labeling. (I couldn't believe the number of folks who really are not educated about GMOs). NBI 71 was supported by the Iowa caucus and was and is a direct result of intent and moral direction by our NEA Exec Director, John Stocks. Although it is quite wordy, the intent is obvious: too much money is being spent to support big corporations, war where people do not want war, lobby for the elimination of social security and programs to help the needy instead of public education and a living wage and support of citizens in our country. Legislative Amendment 12 states that NEA supports educating legislators to the negative affects of high stakes testing. Teachers and many parents understand the issue, and so should the public.
The negative concerning PnJ was found out the last day of the RA. A spouse of one of our members got into the blog site Tom McLaughlin had established for us. Tom was so good about posting for me and others when this became a new site of information for PnJ. (Tom has continued his crusade with the Fine Arts Caucus.) Exec members, such as myself, were taken off the mailing list which was used for subversive tactics and messages. PnJ apologies to anyone who received these emailings. Another advantage of being an NEA caucus is that NEA will take legal measures in future or continued misuse of this site. This site will be canceled by us.
A new field of interest is the "policy document". Our Hawaiian friends were denied support in fighting the influx of sub standard preschools because of a policy statement. That statement was discussed and reworded so NEA can help fight "charter schools" in certain circumstances. Apparently NEA has had policy statements for years but they never came up as a concern until recently. So added to our Resolutions (a statement of belief) and our NBIs (action required) are policy statements. Note the technology needed policy which is in your RA Today....the total post picture. Plan to attend the RA next year in Denver. It may be the last for three years to come!