The NEA convention can be hard to understand. One NEA insider described it to me as “like watching birds f***. It looks crazy and hopeless, but makes perfect sense to those doing it and is a lot of fun for them to boot.” What more can you say?
There was a lot more going on in CA during the meeting than Arne Duncan’s speech. To wrap-up this year’s meeting, Sawchuk has a lot of good stuff from the convention, Antonucci does as well. They both comment on the new emphasis on “union” from the NEA leadership, which is a departure from the past posture of the organization (in short, AFT people lobby you to make the point that they’re not the NEA and NEA people lobby you to make the point that they’re a professional association not a union, but perhaps no more?). It’s a smart strategy for the NEA. There is little love for their policies and stances these days* but making themselves invaluable to organized labor ensures some political relevance and toleration.
For instance this just released love-letter from the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights (pdf) is really something and not to be missed if you follow all this closely.
Also, ES’ discussion on teachers and unions just wrapped up – it gets lively toward the end! – and is worth checking out.