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.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Day One: June 30, 2006

The view from my hotel room at Hilton Walt Disney World.

Our plane touched down in Orlando at 5PM ET yesterday and we didn't get to our hotel until 7:30PM. Needless to say it took awhile for us to leave the airport with the wait for baggage and the hotel shuttle. Everything was on time though and went smoothly. Some other Oregon delegates didn't get in until quite late after delays and cancellations in Dallas, so our experience was comparatively relaxing.

This morning Jeri and I went to the Orange County Convention Center for registration. The center is HUGE - I would say at least twice as large as the Oregon Convention Center. The rumor is there will be 10,000 delegates in attendance. We'll get the official numbers when the RA is underway; the Oregon delegation numbers around 150.

I think the biggest question about RA - whether state or national - is what goes on there. This is my first time at the national RA, but if it's anything like the state RA then the bulk of the activity concerns the goals and direction of the organization. So basically we are the decision-making body for the NEA, which numbers over 2 million members!

The RA won't be called to order until Sunday. Most of our time prior to it will be spent with our delegation, looking over and discussing the issues that will be formally brought before the body beginning Sunday. Given the numbers of delegates and differences of opinion that exist among people in general, debate and discussion can become quite lengthy and involved. This sort of dynamic exists even the state level, where delegates represent rural and urban communities, from K12 to community colleges to retired educators. When every delegate from diverse backgrounds has a say and a vote, democracy can become very messy - but I don't think any delegate would want it any other way.


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