NEA RA: Hawaii teachers gather to discuss education issues in Denver
Picture Caption: Team Hawaii Delegates to the 2013 NEA RA
Hawaii public school teachers are joining nearly 9,000 educators from every state to address the pressing issues facing schools, students, and the teaching profession during the National Education Association’s 152nd Annual Meeting and 93rd Representative Assembly (RA) June 26 — July 6 in Denver, Colorado.
The RA, the top decision-making body for the nearly 3 million-member NEA, sets Association policy for the coming year. Delegates adopt the strategic plan and budget, resolutions, the legislative program, and other policies of the Association, and they vote by secret ballot on proposed amendments to the NEA’s Constitution and Bylaws. NEA’s Representative Assembly is also the world’s largest democratic deliberative body.
The theme for this year’s Annual Meeting is NEA: We Educate America.
There are many meetings and activities connected to the NEA RA. Hawaii delegates are among those attending a variety of pre-meetings including the Joint Conference on Concerns of Minorities and Women. HSTA student members attended the NEA Student Leadership Conference and retired members represented Hawaii by attending The NEA-Retired Annual Meeting. There are also meetings for state officers, NEA directors, and some staff members.
During the next week, Hawaii delegates are assigned to attend important committee meetings and to participate in daily NBI reviews.
The RA time goes by very quickly. Team Hawaii veteran delegates encourage members to take advantage of the opportunities to be exposed to national education discussions that impact us in Hawaii. Farrington High School teacher and BOD member Ruth Dalisay has attended the national meeting since 1999. She believes that delegates have a responsibility to represent colleagues in Hawaii and she encourages first time delegates to “listen and learn” all there is to know about how decisions are made at the RA. Being from an island state, she encourages Hawaii delegates to network with teachers from other states.
Retired teacher Vaughn Tokashiki sees attending the NEA RA as part of an entire personal growth plan that allows teachers to expand their horizons and bring new information and skills back to the classroom. He encourages new members to begin this process by getting involved with the many opportunities our Association provides to lead. Vaughn suggests baby steps. For example, start by becoming a school level leader, then eventually work toward chapter involvement, serving on a committee, on the board of directors, and attend the NEA RA. “Sharing of ideas, discussions about best practices, and taking part in the democratic process at the NEA RA can be eye opening and very fulfilling,” said Vaughn.
Picture Caption: HSTA Student Members attended a national student conference and volunteered to help with community projects in Denver.