Constitutional Amendment 1 Awaiting Debate
TITLE: To add “other public employees” to the preamble to reflect our current NEA membership
We, the members of the National Education Association of the United States, in order that the Association may serve as the national voice for education, advance the cause of public education for all individuals, promote the health and welfare of children and/or students, promote professional excellence among educators, gain recognition of the basic importance of the educator in the learning process, protect the rights of educational and other public employees and advance their interests and welfare, secure professional autonomy, promote, support and defend public employees’ right to collective bargaining, unite educational employees for effective citizenship, promote and protect human and civil rights, and obtain for its members the benefits of an independent, united education profession, do hereby adopt this Constitution.
Delegates to the 2019 NEA Representative Assembly adopted new business item (NBI) 2019-5, which stated, “NEA shall review all existing governing documents (e.g., Policy Statements, Legislative Program, Resolutions, Constitution, and Bylaws) and where appropriate direct that these documents incorporate language that is democratically inclusive of all NEA members. Further, NEA shall use inclusive language in all future communications.” Pursuant to this NBI, NEA reviewed and updated as appropriate language in the NEA Legislative Program and Policy Statements. The Resolutions Internal Editing Committee introduced this review in March 2020 to each of its eight standing subcommittees and is scheduled to complete its update during the 2020-2021 membership year.
The Committee on Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules (CCBR), which has jurisdiction over the highest NEA governing documents, reviewed the NEA Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules to identify potential amendments in accordance with NBI 2019-5. The CCBR drafted this proposed amendment for consideration by the 2021 Representative Assembly.
If adopted, the amendment would add a specific reference to other public employees to the preamble of the NEA Constitution. In so doing, it would reflect the broader scope of NEA’s current membership. Some state affiliates currently organize and represent public employees outside of the education field, including public health care and state, county, and municipal employees. These state affiliate members are NEA Active members by virtue of Article II, Section 2(a) of the NEA Constitution, which states:
Membership, as provided in the Bylaws, shall be open to persons who are… (ii) members of a state affiliate in the state affiliate’s membership category that is equivalent to the Association’s Active membership category…
and Bylaw 2-1.b, which states:
Active membership shall be open to any person … (iv) who is a member of a state affiliate in the state affiliate’s Active (or equivalently designated) membership category…
The proposed amendment would have no impact on NEA’s membership categories and would not grant membership to anyone not currently eligible under the NEA Bylaws. It also would not impact NEA practices, as NEA often advocates for public employee rights and protections that have broader impact beyond the education profession, such as collective bargaining, pension, and health care policies.
Committee on Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules
Tom Brenner - MI