NEA’s Virtual Conference Will Not Deter “Playing Politics “
National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia announced the union’s annual convention will be a virtual one this year, and many of the resolutions and extraneous noneducational issues will have to wait until 2021 (or longer?) to be reinforced or decided. Garcia noted the pandemic as the reason for the decision to have a virtual meeting. It appears, however, that the principal function of the meeting will go on as usual – – that of playing politics.
It is always a surprise to find out the NEA would hold its convention in Atlanta. Not only is Georgia a Right to Work state, but the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) has long surpassed both union state affiliates with 97,000 members. A second nonunion educator group, the Georgia Association of American Educators, also provides Georgia teachers with an additional alternative to membership and embraces charter school personnel.
Additionally, Mike Antonucci reports NEA had set aside $6.6 million for the convention, and anticipates millions in cancellation and other fees, plus those same costs to affiliates for cancellation also. Still, he writes, they expect to realize a savings of some $6 million by holding a virtual conference.
Will this set a precedent for future conventions? This is highly unlikely, because of the many issues that will not be discussed at this virtual conference, among other reasons. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see if dues and affiliate costs will be raised or lowered as a result of the savings and if virtual conferences will become the annual tradition.
Watch for Part 2 tomorrow, “NEA Plays Politics”