Nearly 100 Connecticut teachers are joining their colleagues from around the country this week for the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly. The NEA RA, which is being held virtually this year, is the top decision-making body for the more than 3 million-member NEA and sets Association policy for the coming year.
This year delegates are considering amendments to the NEA Constitution, bylaws, policy statements, and resolutions—as well as 59 new business items.
NEA President Becky Pringle addressed delegates yesterday, telling them that she was blown away by teachers’ courage, creativity, and caring during a year that was more challenging than any most educators had experienced in their professional lives.
“We not only made it through a year of fear and loss; anxiety and exhaustion; uncertainty and grief; anger and discouragement,” Pringle said. “We didn’t just survive this year. We learned. We grew. We questioned and we answered. We didn’t just make it through. We lifted up our voices and we took action in ways that demonstrated our individual and collective power.”
She urged members to use their power as educators to imagine a better future to inspire them to take action.
Pringle told delegates to imagine what’s possible and go “beyond educator voice to positioning ourselves as education professionals who have the authority, and the power to make the decisions that will transform public education in this country.”
She continued, “We’ve done a lot of difficult, inspirational, and truly impactful work—from electing President Biden–a true friend of educators and their unions; to voting in a new Senate; to securing historic investments in our schools; to winning court and legislative battles against attacks on our students’ rights to safe and equitable schools, our rights as educators to organize, our right to exist as a union.”
But she reminded members that there is more work to be done.
Pringle closed her remarks by asking every NEA member to imagine a system of shared responsibility where every student is supported, every educator is respected, and every school is a community school. And she implored delegates to decide what they will do as individuals to help fulfill that vision.
“I do believe the answer to that last question will be: Whatever it takes,” she said. “With our persistence and perseverance, we will lead the transformation of public education, of teaching and learning, of our noble professions. NEA, we are not waiting for anyone to rescue us. We’ve got this!”