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Items for consideration at the 2021 Representative Assembly will appear here once submitted and processed. Delegates are encouraged to review submitted items and contact the makers directly with any questions or suggestions for friendly amendments. New Business Items will be updated with cost when that information is available.

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Constitutional Amendment

Constitutional Amendment 1
Awaiting Debate

TITLE: To add “other public employees” to the preamble to reflect our current NEA membership

Preamble

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.

IMPACT STATEMENT:

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.

Constitutional Amendment

Constitutional Amendment 2
Awaiting Debate

TITLE: To codify current practice that the Association not deny membership to individuals on the basis of gender identity/ expression. 

Article II. Membership
Section 2. Membership Eligibility: Provisions and Limitations.

d. The Association shall not deny membership to individuals on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, age, handicap, marital status, or economic status, nor shall any organization which so denies membership be affiliated with the Association.

IMPACT STATEMENT:
Article II of the NEA Constitution sets out the eligibility requirements for membership in the Association. Section d2 specifically prohibits the Association from denying membership to any individual on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, handicap, marital status, or economic status. If adopted, the amendment would add gender identity/expression as an additional basis on which individuals cannot be denied membership in the Association. 

For the purpose of analyzing this amendment, the Committee on Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules consulted definitions set forth by the Human Rights Campaign as follows:

Gender identity is one’s internal concept of self as male, female, a blend of both, or neither. It includes how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth. 

Gender expression refers to the external appearance of one's gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut, or voice and which may or may not conform to socially-defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

Sexual orientation refers to emotional, romantic, sexual, and relational attraction to someone else, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or use another word to accurately describe your identity. (HRC’s Brief Guide to Getting Transgender Coverage Right, https://www.hrc.org/resources/reporting-about-transgender-people-read-this). 

NEA has positions on record against discrimination in any form. For example, Resolution I-46 states, “The National Education Association is committed to the elimination of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and all other forms of discrimination.” Resolution I-49 states, “The National Education Association believes that organizations are strengthened by offering membership on a nondiscriminatory basis. The Association shall use the facilities of and/or participate in programs sponsored only by organizations and/or their auxiliaries that do not deny membership to certain segments of our society on a discriminatory basis when such denials are not related to the stated purposes of the organization. The Association encourages its affiliates to do the same. The Association also believes that its members now holding membership in such organizations should work actively from within for the total elimination of such exclusionary clauses.” 

NEA, in accordance with these belief statements, does not deny membership to any individual on the basis of gender identity/expression. If adopted, the amendment would add an explicit prohibition on this category of discrimination to the Association’s highest governing document, but would make no change to NEA’s current practice of non-discrimination.
 

Bylaw Amendment

Bylaw Amendment 1
Awaiting Debate

TITLE: To allow an individual re-joining the Association as an Active member after the commencement of the membership year to pay a pro-rated portion of dues for that year. 

Bylaw 2. Membership
2-7. Membership Dues

a.     …Any person (i) who joins as an Active member for the first time after the commencement of the membership year, (ii) who becomes eligible for Active membership after the commencement of the membership year, or (iii) who returns to professional educational employment or to an education support professional position from a limited leave of absence after the commencement of the membership year shall be enrolled in full standing for the remainder of the membership year by paying the amount of annual dues which is commensurate with the remaining portion of the membership year.

IMPACT STATEMENT: 
Bylaw 2-7 sets forth the procedures by which membership dues are set. The Bylaw currently provides for reduced pro-rata dues for the first year for any person who joins as an Active member for the first time after the commencement of the membership year. Under this provision, any such member is enrolled in full standing by paying the portion of annual dues commensurate with the remaining part of the membership year. 

If adopted, the amendment would strike language limiting the pro-rata dues to persons joining the Association for the first time. Thus, individuals who leave the Association and then decide to return at any time after the commencement of the membership year would pay a pro-rata portion of dues for the remainder of the year in which they opt to rejoin the Association. A member could potentially leave the Association and return multiple times, paying a pro-rata portion of dues each time. 

A number of state affiliates currently permit pro-rating dues for members who leave and then rejoin the affiliate. Some states permit dues proration for members joining after a certain date, for example, pro-rating dues for the remainder of the membership year for those who join after December 1.

The association provides legal services to members only for incidents and actions taking place while the individual is a member. Thus, even under this amendment, a member could not receive legal services for any incident that occurred during the period in which the member had left the association. 

The committee on Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules understands that NEA’s current dues tracking systems are equipped to handle pro-rating of dues without system changes or additional costs. Thus, the committee does not anticipate any significant administrative costs should the amendment be adopted. 

Bylaw Amendment

Bylaw Amendment 2
Awaiting Debate

TITLE: To set dues for Retired members who were previously Active ESP members at 60 percent of the dues for Retired members. 

Bylaw 2. Membership
2-7. Membership Dues

h. Dues of Retired members shall be established by the Board of Directors and shall be payable (i) by a retired individual who joins the Association on an annual basis or (ii) through a Retired membership-for-life program as established by the Board of Directors. The annual and membership for life dues of any Retired member who joins after the 2020-2021 membership year and who was an Active ESP member shall be sixty percent (60%) of the annual dues of Retired members as established by the Board of Directors. 

IMPACT STATEMENT: 
NEA Bylaw 2-7 sets out the membership dues for each category of Association membership. Currently, Bylaw 2-7(h) provides that the dues of Retired members shall be established by the NEA Board of Directors. The NEA Program and Budget Committee periodically reviews Retired Annual and Life dues levels and suggests changes as needed. The NEA Board of Directors then votes on all dues recommendations received from the Program and Budget Committee in accordance with Bylaw 2-7. 

Dues of Active members engaged in professional educational employment are set at .00225 times the national average annual salary of classroom teachers in the public elementary and secondary schools plus .00055 of the national average annual salary of classroom teachers in the public elementary and secondary schools, allocated to UniServ grants. Dues of Active education support professional (ESP) members are determined in the same manner as those of Active members engaged in professional educational employment, except that the national average annual salary of school employees in education support positions is used in the formula. ESP dues cannot be less than fifty percent of the dues of Active members engaged in professional educational employment.

If adopted, the amendment would set the dues of any Retired member who was previously an Active ESP member at sixty percent of the dues of Retired members as set by the Board. The amendment would go into effect after the 2021-2022 membership year and would apply to all members in the Retired category who pay their dues on an annual basis at that time, as well as any members who join the Retired category by paying Life dues at that time. The amendment would not apply retrospectively, meaning that members who previously joined as Retired members by paying a lifetime dues amount would not be impacted by the amendment. 

It is difficult to determine the impact of this amendment on NEA’s revenue or budget. In 2019-2020, NEA had just over 332,000 Retired members, approximately 5,700 of whom join every year. NEA estimates that 14 percent of Retired Annual members formerly were employed in ESP positions. Retired members who join each year currently pay $35 annually. If passed, the amendment would reduce from $35 to $21 the annual dues of around 800 individuals. The amendment, however, could also act as an incentive for individuals to join as Retired members. If it did so, the overall increase in Retired membership might offset the loss in individual dues paid by Retired members. 

New Business Item

New Business Item A
Awaiting Cost

The National Education Association, in coordination with national partners, NEA state and local affiliates, racial justice advocates, allies, and community activists, shall build powerful education communities and continue our work together to eradicate institutional racism in our public school system by:

1.  Establishing a task force that identifies the criteria for safe, just, and equitable schools, including exploring the role of law enforcement in education.

The task force will:

  • Create a clear vision for the NEA on what must be included to create safe, just, and equitable schools for all students.
  • Craft an Association-wide plan, in consultation with leaders of current police-free school movements as well as successful police-free schools legislation across the country, to include developing common language, understanding historical and current student experiences, training and workshops, and opportunities, to take collective action.
  • Provide recommendations to amend existing policy, including the NEA School Discipline and School-to-Prison Pipeline Policy Statement (2016), NEA Resolutions, the NEA Legislative Program and any other related documents.
  • Compile current data that documents the criminalization of Native students and students of color, the disparities in appropriate staffing with mental health professionals and caring educators, and provide analysis comparing the impact of on- site or community-based programs and personnel with the use of law enforcement on campuses.
  • Inform the work identified in numbers two and three.

2.  Supporting and leading campaigns that:

  • Advocate for just funding formulas that remedy pervasive resource disparities based upon race, income, and geographic wealth patterns, and advocate for no-cost higher education.
  • Reallocate funding to provide students with school-based, non-privatized, non- outsourced services to meet their social/emotional and mental health needs by:
    • Achieving robust staffing levels including appropriate class sizes, including access to electives, art, librarians, and ESPs, and including appropriate Higher Ed staffing levels; and
    • Training specific school personnel to be full-time restorative practice coordinators and providing all school employees with professional development around cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, anti-racism, trauma-informed practices, restorative justice practices and other racial justice trainings; and
    • Training educators to lead on equity and racial justice, leveraging the Leaders for Just Schools curriculum and model.
    • Hiring school-based mental health providers trained to provide culturally appropriate services, such as school counselors, nurses, social workers, drug and alcohol  counselors and psychologists, and utilizing trauma-informed, restorative justice practices, meditation/peace centers, and other proven methods to address student health and wellbeing.
  • Eliminate the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipeline.
  • Win transformative investments for racially just schools that include addressing the academic, social, and emotional needs of every student through their entire educational journey, including non-biased access to PreK and post high school opportunities.
  • Seek remedy to economic justice issues including, but not limited to, affordable housing, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and access to health care and childcare.
  • Achieve dramatic funding increases for proven programs such as services for low-income students under Title I and students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).
  • Result in greater numbers of Native educators and educators of color in the education profession(s) and the union; specifically in high quality, fulltime, professional or tenure track positions.
  • Result in increased investment to expand community schools leveraging the NEA Community Schools Model.
  • Result in increasing the implementation of culturally responsive education, Critical Race Theory, and Ethnic (Native People, Asian, Black, Latin(o/a/x), Middle Eastern and North African, and Pacific Islander ) Studies curriculum in Pre-K-12 and Higher Education.
  • Eradicate racist laws, racist policies and racist practices, the over criminalization of communities, students, and families of Native People and people of color, as well as the criminalization of poverty.

3.  Engaging and empowering students, families, community and other key stakeholders in the decision-making process in their schools, districts, higher education institutions and communities.

To this end, NEA will:

  • Expand the development of trauma-informed schools and the implementation of trauma-informed practices in education communities to support learning, social and emotional wellbeing and inclusive educational environments.
  • Leverage Bargaining for the Common Good to engage broad stakeholder groups to win on transforming education communities.
  • Provide technical assistance to expand state and local affiliate education community partnerships to deliver professional development and training curriculum targeted to education employees charged with creating affirming accountability practices and supportive climates by:
    • Expanding the implementation of training in age-appropriate responses and interventions, cultural responsiveness and culturally relevant pedagogy, implicit bias, anti-racism, trauma-informed practices, restorative justice practices and other racial justice training.
       
New Business Item

New Business Item 1
Awaiting Debate

NEA shall use its public-facing websites, including educationvotes.nea.org, to publicly promote and affirm its commitment to access voting and that state legislatures should not implement policies that overturn the will of the voters.

Additionally, NEA will partner with external organization in a public-facing national campaign to educate the public about voting that includes state-based lobbying language to condemn all efforts to limit the rights of voters to have full access to the ballot box.

New Business Item

New Business Item 2
Awaiting Debate

NEA will research the organizations attacking educators doing anti-racist work and/or use the research already done and put together a list of resources and recommendations for school districts, locals, and individual educators to utilize when they are attacked. The research, resources and recommendations will all be shared with members through NEA’s social media, an article in NEA Today, and a recorded virtual presentation/webinar.

New Business Item

New Business Item 3
Awaiting Cost

NEA will provide support to state affiliates in establishing and implementing a process to collect and distribute funds earmarked for paying educators who do volunteer anti racist work (including, but not limited to, work such as participating in book studies, workshops or presentations, supporting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) students in schools, or any other union work requiring a racial lens that comes from their lived experience and expertise.) This NEA support would include creating a simple application template that statewide unions could adapt for educators to fill out to be paid for their labor. NEA would make sure this template is simple, so they don’t create significantly more work for people who are applying for funds. State affiliates will make comprehensive efforts to reach a goal that at least 50% of applications submitted are from BIPOC educators but may still continue with implementation even if that goal is not met. State affiliates will collect and make available this racially aggregated data. They could also encourage members to make a donation of $25 or more or make monthly contributions in order to offset the cost of credit card fees.

New Business Item

New Business Item 4
Awaiting Debate

NEA will go beyond Land Acknowledgement to explore the concept of “Land Back”. NEA will recruit a committee of 10-12 Indigenous members that will reach out to federally recognized tribes for their recommendations about reparations. NEA will report the findings and recommendations to all delegates electronically one month before the 2022 deadline for delegate submissions for the NEA Legislative Program, Resolutions, and Policy Statements, Constitution, Bylaws, and Rules, and give a brief oral report at the beginning of the 2022 RA right after the Land Acknowledgement is read.

New Business Item

New Business Item 5
Awaiting Debate

The NEA will develop educational materials for its state and local affiliates and members about the dangers of Anti-Transgender Legislation. Current Legislation is targeting transgender youth in sports and/or restricting their access to gender affirming healthcare. Materials developed will describe the current legal landscape at the federal and state level, provide model state legislative amendments to modify existing laws to prevent such discriminatory applications, provide talking points for advocacy, and link to existing resources for members and state affiliates to use in efforts to prevent the use of such laws as a license to discriminate.