NEA Board of Directors Meeting – February 2012


Illinois NEA Directors attending: Terrie Tudor, Jim Grimes, Eric Brown, Alex Wallace, Joyce Bailey, Tom Tully, Vickie Mahrt and NEA Student Director Matt Hiser.  Also working and training at NEA in Washington were IEA officers Pres. Cinda Klickna, Vice Pres. Kathi Griffin, and Sec-Treas. Al Llorens.

NEA President—Dennis Van Roekel—Welcome and agenda.

Financial Report—Sec-Treas. Becky Pringle reported on membership levels and the corresponding dues income. NEA modified its budget for 2011-12 at the 2011 RA and adopted more than $17 million in cuts. Additional cuts will be needed to balance the 2011-12 budget.  Membership is down in most states.

Action:  Board approved proposed 2012-14 dues for consideration at the NEA RA.

  • 2012-13 $180 for full-time active certified.
  • 2012-13 $107.50 for full-time active ESP.
  • 2013-14 $182 for full-time active certified.
  • 2013-14 $107.50 for full-time active ESP.

Action:  The board approved transfer of $1.9 million from the Contingency Fund.  After adoption of NBIs from the 2011 RA, approximately $999,000 will remain in the Contingency Fund.

Strategic Plan and Budget—Becky Pringle reports that despite budget challenges, the NEA remains committed to its core goals:  Strong Affiliates and Priority Schools.  The budget committee, working with the officers and NEA managers and staff, are modifying the budget to meet current challenges.

Executive Director Report—John Stocks reported on the challenges NEA is facing due to membership losses.  He outlined the process NEA is using to modify the budget and staffing.  The board will be notified of specific changes and decisions as they are finalized.  Any changes in staffing will be done in accordance with our contractual agreements with NEA staff unions.

NEA Vice-President—Lily Eskelsen presented the report on for-profit colleges and universities and the NEA Academy.  NEA and NEA Member Benefits began offering master’s degree programs through the NEA Academy.  These degree programs are currently provided by three institutions: UMASS Online, Walden University, and

Western Governors University. Walden is a part of Laureate, Inc. a for-profit institution.

NEA policy differentiates between K-12 education and adult higher education. NEA has avoided taking positions of opposition to for-profit colleges.  NEA has over 6,000 members in private for-profit colleges, in 93 institutions and 23 states. In fact, 38% of Walden University staff are NEA members.  Members receive $150,000 in tuition discounts, application fee waivers and member-only scholarship opportunities.

Action: The Board approved the report and recommendations of the Task Force on For-Profit Colleges and Universities.

Action:  Board approved Board Steering Committee Appointments

Executive Committee Reports accepted.

Observance of Women’s History Month—Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, spoke on violence against women and the role NEA can plan is combating the problem.  The Violence Against Women Act, first passed in 1994, was the first U.S. federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes, and it provided federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence. It also led to the creation of the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), which now receives 21,000 calls a month and provides access to translators in 170 languages. It recently has added 24/7 texting ability. The laws reauthorization in 2000 created a much needed legal assistance program for victims, and its reauthorization in 2005 created the first federal funding system to support rape crisis centers and to develop culturally and linguistically-specific services for communities. This legislation is now up for reauthorization again. NEA encourages members to contact their elected Representatives and Senators and urge them to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.


Unions:  Leading Change in Tough Times—Richard Hurd, Professor of Labor Studies, Assoc. Dean for External Relations, ILR School, Cornell U. discussed public sector unions under siege and whether we should manage decline or transform.  He discussed how private sector unions reacted to similar challenges in the past.  He group reactions in four general ways:  Strategic Rigidity, Organizational Evolution, Organization Combustion, and Inclusive Unionism.


Our Unions’ Future:  NEA’s Ann Johnson presented a membership update on how to engage millennial members, how to tap their energy as union leaders.

Barby Halstead-Worrell, NEA staff, detailed the implications of successful change strategies for NEA, and talked about potential members that we could recruit.

NEA Exec. Cmte. member Paula Monroe and staff member Bill Raabe—gave a presentation on “Leading the Profession” and the “Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching.”  He explained the phases of implementation.  Phase Three:  Briefing and engaging national and state leaders, the NEA Board, and affiliate staff.  NEA has developed a “toolkit” on the NEA Policy Statement on Teacher Evaluations.  He is working on a plan for the Commission’s report. 

Role of ESPs—Laura Montgomery, President of NCESP addressed the roles of ESP in workplaces and roles in leading the professions.  Focus groups were held around the nation regarding ESP issues.  Key results:  the economy is hitting our ESP members really hard; some members holding 2-3 jobs; members frustrated with cuts to education; members feel underappreciated; greatest joy is having a positive impact on students.

General Counsel OfficeJason Walta, assistant counsel—reports that dues deduction litigation is ongoing in Arizona, Alabama, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Directors, officers and guests attended the annual NEA Foundation Gala honoring outstanding educators.  IEA member Annice Brave, a teacher at Alton High School, and Illinois Teacher of the Year, was one of the educators honored.

President Van Roekel presented his overview of Issues.

Board Training and Skill Building:  Polarity Thinking— Barry Johnson, Ph.D., and Cliff Kayser, organizational consultants, conducted a training session for the Board.

Ballot Measure/Legislative Crisis Fund—the fund began the 2011-12 membership year with a carry-over of $1,500,000.  Dues collections for 2011-12 are projected to be $25,400,000.  The projected total for will be approximately $27,000,000.  NEA has approved $140,000 in assistance to three state affiliates, and $5,900,000 in assistance to eight affiliates.  The current estimated fund available is $20,000,000.

Legislative and Political Landscape—John Stocks, Exec. Dir. And Mary Kussler, NEA Gov. Relations—updated the Board on presidential and congressional races.  NEA endorsed President Obama at the 2011 RA.  Members can go to: to sign up for Educators for Obama.  Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization is being debated in Congress.  (See Illinois NEA Directors Lobby Report.) 

NEA Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching—Maddie Fennell, Chair, 2007 Nebraska Teacher of the Year, reported on the independent commission’s report and took questions from the Board.  More information on the report is at: .  The report as a PDF is at: .

Observance of Black History Month—Dr. Adolf Brown III aka “The World’s Greatest Edu-tainer” involved the Board and staff in his unique and passionate presentation, uncovering our most common prejudices and attitudes.  More on Dr. Brown at:

Governance Review Project–NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen–presented information on the history & establishment of all NEA governance processes and structures in preparation for the Board discussion groups. This is the beginning of a three-year process to review and verify that our processes and structures still meet our needs.

Strategic Board Discussions (Small Groups): NEA’s Budget Priorities, NEA Governance Structures, and Leading the Professions.

Constitution, Bylaws and Rules Committee—Board Action: 

Standing Rule Amendments:

#1—Oppose; To require the maker of an object to consider motion to submit a written rationale indicating why the main motion should not be considered by the Representative Assembly; and to require the presiding officer to read the rationale to the Representative Assembly prior to the vote on the objection.

#2—Oppose; To require that the presiding officer ask if there are speaker request forms for delegates wishing to speak to the referral following a motion to refer to committee.

#3—Postpone Consideration until May Board Meeting; To require a minimum of two one-hour breaks during the Representative Assembly.

#4—Support; To emphasize that adopted new business item texts may be edited to replace K-12 or Pre-K-12 with Pre-K-Graduate School under specific circumstances.

Constitutional Amendments: 

#1–Oppose; To modify the Preamble of the Constitution to include defending employees’ right to collective bargaining as a stated goal of the Association.

#2—Support; To change the percentage of classroom teachers required on NEA committees from at least seventy- five (75) percent to at least fifty (50) percent. This change would apply to all committees except the Advisory Committee of Student Members.

Bylaws Amendment:

#1—Oppose; To establish, as a specific NEA objective, advocating for tax reforms to reduce the gap between the nation’s economic classes.

Executive Committee Actions/RecommendationsBoard approved transfer of $1,900,000 from contingency for NEA budget use, due to membership losses.

Committee Reports:

NEA’s Read Across America is March 2ndNEA has partnered with the movie “The Lorax” scheduled to be released the same day.  Also, Mazda has pledged to donate up to one million dollars to school libraries for test driving a new Mazda.  $25 will be donated for each drive.  For more information go to: View the trailer for The Lorax at: .

UniServ Advisory—Grace Bekaert, Chair of the UniServ Advisory Committee, reported that NEA will be able to meet its commitment to the UniServ grant program this year. For the 2012-2013 year, the committee is projecting that the grant will be reduced from $37,048 to $34,850. The final figure will be presented to the Board at the May meeting.

Other committees reporting:  Annual Meeting Review, Internal Concerns, Priority Schools Communications

Additional Discussions:  Lobbying by Directors, Information Sent to State Presidents and Exec. Directors, Membership Dues Systems, and Policy Initiatives

Information Items:  Implementation of the 2011 New Business Items, NEA Committees 2011-12

Pres. Van Roekel—Looking Ahead




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