Education

RA Rejects Private K-12 Workers

By Vaishali Honawar — July 06, 2008 1 min read

NEA delegates voted to allow private preschool workers to seek union membership, but defeated an amendment that would permit elementary and secondary school workers to do the same.

There was a strong feeling among delegates that allowing K-12 workers into NEA ranks could create conflict when it comes to the union’s position on issues such as vouchers, which it now unequivocally opposes. There were also concerns about religion creeping into schools because some private schools are religious.

Read my previous post on the debate here.

The RA this morning also adopted a resolution recommending teaching the appropriate use of student personal electronic devices, including cellphones.

Teachers have in recent years increasingly found themselves appearing in videos taken with student cellphones that are then posted to YouTube and similar online forums. Many have expressed concern over this trend as well as over the fact that students sometimes use cellphones to copy tests.

Some teachers at the RA had their own horror stories to tell. Jenny Long, a teacher from New Jersey, said she had caught girls going into the restroom and taking naked pictures of themselves, which they then sent to other students in the class.

Still, delegates chose not to go with the original version of the resolution that banned all cellphones and electronic devices from classrooms, and instead voted for an amended version that would teach students the appropriate use of such devices.

“There is no way to enforce a cellphone ban,” said delegate Lee Spears from Pennsylvania, pointing out the widespread use of them worldwide today. “But we do what any good educator will do,” he said. “We teach them.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the NEA & AFT: Live From the Conventions blog.

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