Education Nation II

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Do you know about the NEA? I mean, really know about them? Me either. Honestly, we are not a union state, so I'm not in on the up and up. There was a lot of union/anti-union heat during Education Nation and while it was exciting, it also peaked my curiosity. So I spent some time on the NEA site. Here are my big discoveries:

*The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization.

*They have more than 3 million members.

*Their vision is a great public school school for every student. 

*They believe in improving the quality of teaching and increasing student success.

*They are quite political. 

To this non-union girl from Georgia, it all sounds rosy. In fact, this Georgia girl has even received a grant from the NEA Foundation. (I highly recommend applying and would even be happy to help!)

However, just like everything else in life-all that glitters is not gold. According to my friend (and NYC teacher,)

*Unions take money away from students.

*They are too political and their platforms do not equally represent all members.

*They are too involved in the actual teaching-when that should be left to educators.

Now, those are her opinions, not mine-but I value this input as I truly am trying to understand the power of NEA.

I interviewed Dennis Van Roekel, President of NEA, during Education Nation. Here are my takeaways:

*He respects teachers and wants them to have time to collaborate.

*He cares about kids.

*He may be a bit out of touch with what it is like to be in the classrooms.

*Who really is in charge of the NEA?

*He humors first grade teachers who always do a silly pose next! 

I wish there were a dream organization that could magically fix education. Oh wait! I think there is-ORT! The Organization of Rockin' Teachers! 

How do you feel about the NEA?


  1. I don't understand how NEA membership takes money away from students any more than does membership to an organization like PAGE. My father is a life member of the NEA. Not only did he benefit from the NEA but my children, because he is their grandfather, were able to invest in higher interest money market accounts. At the time they purchased their homes they were offered mortgages with lower interest rates all via the NEA. The benefit to my father existed throughout his teaching career in salary negotiations (no strikes)and the additional benefits offered by the NEA due to the size of their organization. He continues to benefit.
    My neighbor retired as an executive with the NEA and I can guarantee you that he has always had the best interests of teachers and students. The NEA does have a presence in Georgia through GAE.

    1. I love hearing these good things about NEA! I am a member of a "union" here in Georgia, but it pales in comparison to the unions in the north. I think the NEA is a hot topic during this election time and all year......but I still wonder why such power?


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