July 2, 2006

NEA Representative Assembly, day 1

It'a after 10 pm, and I'll be kicked out of this café in about ten minutes, so my ideas about improving graduation will have to wait. The day at the NEA representative assembly was long, whether you were a volunteer who woke up in Tampa at 5:15 am and stayed in the convention center until 7:30 pm or so, or a delegate who went to a state caucus at 7 am before coming to the convention center. I discovered there were even more caucuses than I had seen before (both major parties, a peace-and-justice as well as a veterans caucus, etc.). And the mostly K-12 crowd knows how to be rowdy. (Let's just say I was glad I brought earplugs for a few interludes.)

Not much earthshaking in terms of public policy was discussed. Oh, NEA President Reg Weaver's address was fiery at points, but nothing was new in terms of NEA positions. (Yeah—he switched positions entirely and announced that he loved the current version of No Child Left Behind, and the delegates were entirely with him on that. Joke, folks! Please clean up that keyboard, okay?) It was part ceremony, part organizational business, and part affirmation of existing values for NEA.

There is an underlying current of hostility towards NCLB, though—and the big surprise is that Weaver didn't talk about AYP at all. The notion of expertise-managed reform struck a resonant note, and that was a definitely surprise (that it was emphasized over AYP and the teacher-quality standards). That's... very interesting. I'll have to see what I can tease out of that over the next few days, in terms of observation.

And now, back to the hotel. Have a great holiday, everyone!

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Posted in Random comments on July 2, 2006 10:19 PM |