Today I head down to San Diego for the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly, which begins in earnest on July 3.
What will this year’s NEA assembly bring? Without a doubt, we’ll see plenty of debate on internal NEA policies. We’ll probably continue to see the union criticize the No Child Left Behind Act: The union’s ESEA Committee expected to make another report this session. We may even get a couple of interesting resolutions that highlight the union’s sense of its own purpose and mission, as we did about private pre-K providers last year.
This year also marks Dennis Van Roekel’s first solo job heading up the RA. Serving as the de facto emcee carries a lot of responsibility: There’s a boatload of procedural protocols to master, the president’s address, and all those “new business items” that are introduced over the course of the week and that tend to keep everyone up late on the last day of the RA.
The last time I spoke to Van Roekel, I asked him how he felt about all this. “I’m nervous!” he said with a laugh. Yet there’s some truth to the answer. After all, the NEA president does have the opportunity to promote new policies or set a path forward for the union during his address. And I can’t be the only person who thinks that Van Roekel, who kept a pretty low profile last year, is still a little bit of a cipher. What will he have to say to 9,000 of his best friends? Inquiring minds want to know.
Don’t forget to check in with us tomorrow, as Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses a group of teachers and listens to their feedback. We’ve heard there will be more on performance-based pay, something that now-President Obama got booed for two years running when he mentioned it to the RA.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.