LCEA at the NEA RA

All you ever wanted to know about National Education Association Representative Assembly, an annual gathering held in the first weeks of July.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Independence Hall Tour

We the assembled

Monday, July 09, 2007

Making the official nomination

Janis Eggert of Oregon was running for re-election to the NEA Board as an ESP Director, At-Large. And she won!


Originally uploaded by lanecountyea

Deliberating over new business items

Embracing Philly

Originally uploaded by lanecountyea

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Shakin' off the cobwebs

It's been almost a year since my last entry, so of course I forgot the password to get in and a couple things changed with Google's acquisition of Blogger. But now I'm back on track.

This year I plan to share more photos and fewer words. The basic structure and tone of the RA has not changed, so last year's information is still valid.

A few highlights off the top of my head:

With the presidential election gathering steam we were treated to visits from several candidates including Hilary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama. Delegates were allowed to go up and take photographs, but I didn't venture to the stage until Obama's visit. Not that I've decided he's "the one," but like one of the other candidates said, he IS the rock star of the Democratic Party. And you gotta get a photo of a rock star.

Getting up to the stage to take his photograph was an experience in itself. The line leading up to the stage was quite long and they only allowed a few people forward at at time. We also had to stoop down to avoid blocking the view of the other delegates. It felt like I was in a WWI combat trench, trying to make my way to the front lines. Not surprisingly, I was happier with the photos I took leading up to the stage than the one I actually took there.

Photo before getting to the stage:

Photo at the stage:

Friday, July 21, 2006

My notes

I think this will be my final post. Follow the link below for a PDF of the notes I took during the week. There isn't a lot of detail since I couldn't really keep up with the varying and sometimes-lengthy arguments for and against, but if members have questions feel free to contact me. I also have the final "RA Today" that gives more detail on the items adopted.

NEA RA 2006 notes

Friday, July 14, 2006

Just say "NO!"

A delegate votes down a motion.

Now discuss...

NEA Director Elizabeth Nahl and OEA President Larry Wolf discuss strategy.


Every morning delegates received the "RA Today" newspaper, which had all the New Business Item (NBI) information, legislative amendments, etc. It was basically the guide to the day's business. NBIs go through the most discussion, debate and revision during the assembly.

Mic check

The Oregon Delegation was pretty active in the discussion and debate and the making of motions. There were over 30 mic podiums scattered throughout the hall, which were used to address the assembly. Anyone recognized at the podium gets picked up by the video cameras and projected onto the screens for everyone to see. The telephone is used to call in the motion to a team on stage that gets the requests to the chair. For perspective, the OEA RA only uses six microphones and no phones.

Signs of the times

Signs were used to inform the delegation on how to vote on various issues. The "L" stands for leadership position; the "C" for caucus position. If the arrow is pointed sideways it means there is no position. Regardless of the leadership or caucus positions, delegates still have the right to vote how they please (and they do!).

The Oregon Delegation

View from the top of the Oregon Delegation seating area. The floor seats immediately in front of us were occupied by the California Delegation. Note: The picture only shows about one-third of the assembly.

Lots o' people

View from the forward corner of the assembly hall.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back in Eugene and decompression

More Oregon Caucus activity (and, yes, resting is an activity).

I was hoping to post a final "at the RA" entry yesterday, but by the time I got to the computer stations they were packing things up.

The RA ended at a reasonable hour - 6:54PM was the official time, called by General Counsel Bob Chianin (or as I like to call him "The Consiglieri"). Following tradition the Oregon Delegation had a pool going on what the end time would be. I was way off with 8:32PM. Even though I didn't win, finishing 90 minutes earlier than I expected was worth it!

So now that I'm back home what are my thoughts? Well, RA is A LOT OF WORK! But believe it or not, I'd like to go again (if members let me). Why? Well, it's a little hard to explain unless you go, but one reason is RA is probably the greatest example I've ever seen of democracy in action and it's exciting and honoring to be a part of that. It's amazing what actually gets accomplished by 10,000 people over the course of four days (you'll see from my notes pretty soon). And of course it's nice to be able to travel to new places and meet new people, although the smart delegates go early or stay late to actually go see the sites. Jeri and I only managed to go to Epcot for a few hours during our time there. Once RA starts it's pretty much impossible to go out for recreation, unless you choose to give up sleep.

So coming up in future posts will be photographs and notes on what happened at RA.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

NEA's Independence Day Celebration

My Independence Days have always been pretty uneventful, but thanks to the NEA RA I can now say different! I was very impressed with NEA's Independence Day celebration, which featured delegates representing various groups that make up this country. I couldn't help but be inspired by the stories these people had to tell, which ultimately contribute to the story of the nation itself. I don't think I've felt more honored or appreciative to be an American.

My favorite quotation comes from the delegate who represented Asian Americans:

"Only in America can a woman of Filipino descent have a name like Dixie Johansen. I am Dixie Johansen and this is my country!"

Day Five: July 4, 2006

Internet access is all fee for service out here, except for email stations provided by NEA. So getting my blog entries posted has not been too convenient, but I am keeping plenty of notes, which will be posted when I get back.

For now I can give some overall impressions. The days have been very long, starting at 7AM with our delegate meetings to go over committee recommendations and caucus positions on New Business Items, NEA Constitutional Amendments, Legislative Objectives, etc. From there we go to the Orange County Convention Center for the full RA. The last few days of RA have ended past 6PM, so it's a good 12 hour day once we get back to the hotel.

As expected there are a variety of issues in circulation, some straightforward, others not so much. Some issues which seem like "no brainers" wind up producing lively and lengthy debate. No one can accuse NEA members for being dispassionate!

Tonight a small group of us from Lane County will be celebrating a casual Independence Day. Here's hoping all of you have a good one!