Break the NEA?

There seems to be quite a bit of support for busting the NEA, a national teachers’ union. In my own state, support seems to be growing to break through the WEA (Washington Education Association). I really like my local and so far have decent feelings about my state representation but don’t have much feeling for the national union.

I wonder if teachers need to become a force in the a part of the reforms spoken about throughout the nation. Maybe we can take charge of the evaluation reforms, the funding solutions, and the merit pay debate.

When do we take charge of our profession in politics? Should we?


4 thoughts on “Break the NEA?

  1. McSwain

    I think we have to do something. In my state (CA), over 26,000 teachers have been pink-slipped, including myself. Many of us, once again including myself, feel that our local chapters of the CTA have been taking our money, but now that it’s time to help, are hanging us out to dry. Meanwhile, the CTA has spent millions of our dollars on non-educational political agendas with which many of us do not agree.

    There’s a lot of reform that needs to happen. It needs to start with making sure our union actually is in touch with its membership. Here in California, the people running our union seem to have little interest in what the rank-and-file think.

  2. Mystery Teacher

    I use to be a big supporter until a teacher was accused of sexual misconduct with a student and he was put on leave. NEA told him he had to pay it himself and if he was innocent, they would reimburse him. I quit that year. He was innocent. The girl was mad at him for making her inelgible for sports. What would I change? I received 5 (yes FIVE) of every single publication they had. It was a waste of paper and postage. I wrote them, I called them, nothing changed. They are willing to waste my money on paper and postage, I am not willing to spend it that way. Arizona is a Right to Work state. Thank God.

  3. Marc Lebendig

    I am on the Board of Directors of the Virginia Education Association, and while I don’t agree with everything NEA (or VEA) does, I am still an active and supportive member. I’ve never understood the notion that if you don’t agree with everything they do, you may as well drop your membership. State unions, of course, vary a great deal in the quality of leadership, but in a state like Virginia, where we have no collective bargaining and no master contract, I don’t understand why everyone wouldn’t belong. We recently had a state senator tell us that we’re the only ones seriously standing up for public education in the state.

    To answer your question about what changes should be made, I would remind people that NEA (and its affiliates) are highly democratic. Every year at our state convention, I watch how one person with a strong idea can change the direction of the organization. This is even more true at the NEA convention–the world’s largest representative assembly. I think all of the issues you mentioned in your post are critical, and I think the way to address those is to follow McSwain’s advice: make sure the union is following the will of its membership. If it isn’t, get leaders who are willing to do that. My pet peeve is how many members are apathetic about their role in the organization and are perfectly willing to let others dictate the goals of the organization. It’s a professional organization that needs professional participation to stay active, effective, and relevant.


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