Washington, D. C. NEA – Great Public Schools for Every Child December 2009
President Van Roekel began the meeting with a moment of silence for the Board members we lost this year and for those Board members who suffered losses in their families. He then reflected on the huge cuts occurring in higher education, along with tuition increases. Last year at this time, we were euphoric and looking forward to the inauguration of President Obama. We didn’t anticipate how deep this economic crisis is, and the rage in America.
U.S. Education Policy and Practice
The following is a synopsis of the current proposals: ARRA, RTTT, SIG, i3 and TIF grant programs.
AARA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 enacted February 12, 2009)
- Overall Funding: $787 billion
- Education Funding (including tax credit bonds): $130.24 billion
- Four Reform Goals:
- Teacher and principal effectiveness and distribution.
- Standards and assessments.
- Data systems.
- Turning around low-performing schools
RTT: Selection Criteria
- State Success Factors, 125 pts. (25%)
- Standards and Assessments, 70 pts. (14%)
- Data Systems to Support Instruction, 47 pts. (9%)
- Great Teachers and Leaders, 138 pts. (28%)
- Turning Around Lowest-Achieving Schools, 50 pts. (10%)
- General, 55 pts. (11%)
- Competitive Preference (emphasis on STEM), 15 pts., all or nothing (3%)
RTT: Union Role in State Success
- State judged by extent to which “participating LEAs” are “strongly committed” to the state’s plan reform goals (A)(1)(ii), 45 pts.
- State also judged by extent to which participating LEAs will translate into “broad statewide impact” (A)(1)(iii), 15 pts.
- “Participating LEAs” are “LEAs that choose to work with the state to implement all or significant protions of the state’s Race to the Top Plan, as specified in each LEA’s agreement with the State.”
- A “model” LEA Agreement (MOU) includes:
Terms and conditions reflecting strong LEA commitment; scope-of-work descriptions for each LEA; and signatures from “as many as possible” of
a) the LEA superintendent,
b) the local school board president, and
c) the local teachers’ union leader (“at least one signature must be from an authorized LEA representative”).
- Required Evidence for State Success Factors (A)(1):
- # and % of participating LEAs in each specific reform area.
- # and % of participating LEAs with each applicable signature (including union leader’s signature) on MOU.
- Name of each LEA using “standard” MOU terms and conditions.
- Name of each LEA participating in each applicable plan criterion.
- State must show statewide capacity to implement, scale up and sustain proposed plans (A)(2), 30 pts.
- This includes: the extent to which the state has a plan to “use support from a broad group of stakeholders to better implement its plans, as evidenced by the strength of the statements or actions of support from…the state’s teachers and principals, including state’s teachers’ unions or statewide teachers associations; and other critical stakeholders..” (A)(2)(iii), 10 pts.
- Signatures from “as many as possible” of a) LEA superintendent, b) local school board president, c) local teachers’ union leader.
Tiered Dues Report
Vice President Lily Eskelsen presented a report from the 2006-07 Advisory Commiteee on Membership. This committee had the charge to create a new dues structure with tiers (ranges of salaries) and determine the level of dues for each tier. If the proposal is implemented it would apply regardless of membership category or percentage of employment. The dues categories examined were the Active – Teaching Professional and the Active – Education Support Professional. The report reviewed the history of the NEA dues structure. The current system has been in place since 1995. Background was also given on how the present dues amount is calculated. The committee looked at a tiered dues proposal that would provide equity based on the ability to pay. The proposal also needed to not cause states and locals to have to collect any new data and the dues structure would have to be revenue neutral. Since the committee found that there was a great deal of difficulty in collecting individual members’ salaries, the committee developed a tiered dues structure using statewide averages. The tiered dues level would be the same for everyone in the state. The NEA board met in discussion groups to review and discuss the proposal. No action was taken at this meeting.
GPO-WEP Presentation to the NEA Board of Directors
The NEA Board was treated to a game of Fact or Crap with hosts, Paula Monroe from the NEA Executive Committee, and Lee Schreiner, Chair of the NEA Social Security Offsets Task Force. This was used as a tool to make sure everyone knows the truth and the myths about the GPO and WEP (Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision) and how they affect many people in every state in the nation. One of the Crap answers was for the question, “how many states are affected by the Offsets?” Many people know they affect those in 15 states, California being one, but what they don’t realize is that when someone retires to another state and resides there they will not receive what they paid into Social Security. A Fact was that the GPO-WEP penalizes some public employees by cutting or taking away completely Social Security benefits they or their spouse earned.
NEA is currently conducting a survey of members at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GQ76GHB
We are asking the local Presidents to forward this link on to all of their members. We encourage all of our members to take NEA’s online survey when you receive it. Forward it on only to members of CTA – it is a member and state specific survey. There are currently over 300 members of the House, and over 30 members of the Senate, signed on to the repeal of the GPO-WEP. The problem lies in getting the Social Security Fairness Act out of committee when it has a multi-billion dollar price tag on it. NEA will be hosting a meeting of all other education and public service coalition groups affected by the GPO-WEP this spring to work together on this. What can you do? Write to your member of Congress, Senator, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and/or President Obama telling them your story and urging them to get the repeal out of committee. Please visit www.nea.org/home/16491.htm for more information. California is well represented on the NEA Social Security Offsets Task Force members with Tamara Conry, Darla Bramlette and Paula Monroe as the NEA Executive Committee Liaison.
Questions or Comments?
Contact Kendall Vaught
Thank you for all you do for your students and fellow educators!