Mike Antonucci Reviews NEA Convention

Mike Antonucci, Education Intelligence Agency, reviews the news from the 2013 National Education Association Convention.  Two highlights:  NEA members voted down a merger with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and teacher union officials raised over $3 million for the PAC during the 4-day convention which ended July 6.

* The delegates approved, without debate, a measure that requires NEA to provide a rationale in the budget whenever the members of the Executive Committee receive a salary bonus. Evidently the nine highest-ranking elected union officers were awarded a 3% bonus in the current year – not based on performance, the delegates were specifically told. “I could tell you a joke about that, but I won’t,” said Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle.

* NBI 77, which called on NEA to review the advantages and disadvantages of a national merger with the American Federation of Teachers, was introduced by Bonnie Peck of Nevada, who thought it was time to restart merger discussions. It soon became clear that many of the same state affiliates that shot down the 1998 Principles of Unity still feel the same way. Delegates from Massachusetts and Michigan voiced their opposition and the assembly closed debate relatively quickly. A voice vote signaled defeat for the item, but was close enough for a standing vote to be taken. It was a substantial defeat. From my vantage point, the only large non-merged state delegation that seemed to be overwhelmingly in favor was Ohio, which was interesting but inconsequential to the outcome.

* There will be a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot next year that would change the frequency of the convention from annually to once every three years. This is the easiest prediction I’ve ever made: This has zero chance of passing.
* Lily Eskelsen Garcia announced for NEA president in 2014 (shocker!), Becky Pringle will move up one slot for vice president, and Executive Committee members Princess Moss and Greg Johnson will compete for the office of secretary-treasurer.

* NEA has raised $3,734,000 for its PAC this election cycle, and if I did my arithmetic correctly, almost $1.3 million of that came from the delegates during this four-day period.