Kenosha Education Association President Anne Knapp headed up the KEA’s delegation (seen here with Henry Perez, Mindy Dunford, Kay Krause (KEA -Retired) – not pictured, but on the scene, was Val Ludlow) to this summer’s NEA Representative Assembly, giving up their 4th of July to set the policies that will guide our national organization’s efforts through the up-coming year. It is an intense week of work – truly – with an early morning, pre-assembly state caucus; hours on the floor debating and voting on New Business Items, resolution changes, and legislative priorities; and setting the budget.
As our national voice, the NEA was heavily involved in efforts to reshape and improve the new Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). As the bill was being debated during the time of the RA, it was a major focus of the meeting and delegates took part in cyberlobbying their legislators. NEA stressed the degree to which the testing requirements have cut into actual time to teach students across the country. The Senate passed a version more in keeping with the NEA’s desire to break the stranglehold of testing – over-testing – and the punitive actions associated with them, that dominated the old version of the law, and even the lower house version removed some of the penalties. The act will head to conference committee upon the return of the legislators in September.
Our own Senator Tammy Baldwin was praised several times for her work on and support of the Opportunity Dashboard of Core Resources amendment, seen as a step forward to remedying persistent inequities and ensuring that all students have the opportunity to reach their full potential by:
• Use existing data on resource equity to drive improvements.
• Require action when inequities exist in access to resources.
• Focus on the whole child.
• Give states the flexibility to design a plan that works for local communities.
• Allow states to focus on equity.
All NEA members were encouraged to write their legislators in support of this amendment.
NEA dues were increased slightly, $2 for teachers and $1 for ESP members this year, after having been increased only $1 over the past three years. As discussed above, the support you give to the NEA gives us a respected presence in D.C. and an influence on legislation that affects what we can accomplish in public schools across the country, not to mention the professional programs, legal protections and financial benefits it provides.
KEA members’ interests were well represented by our delegates and we thank them for their time and efforts.