N.E.A. Vote Allows Officers To Run for Third Term

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Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association, arrived at her union's annual meeting as a lame duck but left with the option of running for a third two-year term.

Delegates voted 72.4 percent in favor of a constitutional amendment to allow their president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer to run for a third term. A two-thirds majority was required for passage.

Similar amendments have been debated at each annual convention for the past 10 years. The change will enable the union's executive officers to serve for up to six year&-the same as members of the board of directors and the executive committee.

Delegates characterized the results as a vote of confidence in Ms. Futrell, who is halfway through her second two-year term and who said she will run again.

"I think the fact that we have had a strong leader certainly helped to influence people's minds about the need to have an extension," said Nancy J. Finkelstein, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "Mary Futrell came into this assembly in a strong position, and she left in a stronger one."

Some school districts facing teaching shortages plan to hire people this fall who are not fully trained to teach, according to a survey released by the N.E.A. in a July 5 press conference.

The N.E.A. survey, conducted by the Commercial Analysts Company of New York City, found 32,300 vacancies in the nation's 100 largest school districts at the end of June.

Keith Geiger, vice president of the union, said the teacher shortage nationwide could be double or triple that amount.

Of the more than 15,700 school districts nationwide, the N.E.A. surveyed the 143 systems with enrollments of 30,000 or more, of which 100 responded.

Th fill job openings, about 38 percent of the districts surveyed indicated that they might assign teachers outside their field of preparation; another 38 percent said that they might recruit people from other fields who had not been trained as teachers; and 15 percent said that they would consider hiring teachers from foreign countries.

About 54 percent of all Americans' favor increasing teachers' salaries, even if it means higher taxes, according to a nationwide Gallup Poll released in Louisville July 3.

That is up from 52 percent in 1985 and 45 percent in a similar poll in 1983.

Those polled said beginning teachers should earn about $20,700 a year-compared with a current average starting salary of approximately $16,000 to $17,000. Teachers with 15 years' experience should earn an average of $31,400, they said.

The results were based on an N.E.A.-sponsored telephone survey of 1,507 adults, conducted between April 21 and May 25.

On the eve of the convention, the N.E.A. board of directors changed its AIDS policy to oppose all mandatory AIDS testing of school employees and to make it easier for teachers with AIDS to remain in the classroom.

Ms. Futrell said the policy revision gives school employees more flexibility.

The changes reflect the findings of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, which has not found evidence that AIDS is transmitted in schools.

In other action, the union:

  • Endorsed a resolution urging the creation of community-operated family-planning clinics on school grounds.
  • Approved a proposal calling on the N.E.A. to work with other national organizations on ways to "discourage and eliminate the blatant use, misuse, and exploitation of the secondary-school and college athlete."
  • Awarded $213,000 to affiliates in eight local school districts for programs to prevent school dropouts.

    The new grants are part of Operation Rescue, a project begun by the union last year to help cut the dropout rate in half by 1990.

  • Announced plans to expand its "Mastery in Learning Project," which involves teachers in their school's decisionmaking process, from 6 to 30 schools this fall.

Vol. 06, Issue 01, Page 13

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