2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

2015 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator

Thursday, July 13, 2017

My First National Education Association Representative Assembly: Part 4

In case you missed Parts 1 (which you can read here) 2 (which you can read here),  and 3 (which you can read here) Medina City Teachers Association sent three delegates to the National Education Association Representatives Assembly in Boston, Massachusetts, and I was fortunate enough to be one of them. This post continues our adventure as delegates.

Day 2 of the RA was voting for candidates day. We voted for candidates for President, Vice-President, and Treasurer. Because there are so many delegates, each state has an assigned voting time. Ohio's time was 11:15. It's kind of exciting to get up as a group and walk together to the voting booths.

This is what democracy looks like!
It was also the day Ohio was scheduled to take a group picture, so we had to wear our OEA shirts. We were not happy with these shirts, and that's all I'm gonna say about that.

We're going to vote! 
Shenanigans on the floor waiting for the Ohio group picture
This day was a super treat because not only did we get to get up and walk around to vote and get our pictures taken, we also got to see LeVar Burton get the Friend to Education award.  YEEEESSSSS!!! LeVar Burton! Reading Rainbow!

But don't take my word for it. . . 
I'm not gonna lie: I was crying when Lily gave him the award, I was crying during his extremely-supportive speech, I was crying while the whole crowd sang the theme song to Reading Rainbow. I once had the opportunity to see LeVar Burton at the ISTE conference in Atlanta, but I got shut out of the session because EVERYONE wanted to see him, so I was so happy he was there. This was an amazing gift to 7,500 educators, and it was the highlight of my day.

For this post, I'd like to share one neat trick of Parliamentary Procedure that every rookie learns at the RA:

Let's say that we have voted on a gazillion New Business Items (we did), and we debated a whole bunch of them (we did). Let's say there were many times that people claimed Division and even challenged the Chair for a roll call vote (it happened). Next, a delegate goes to the microphone and asks to suspend the rules in order to revisit ALL PREVIOUS NEW BUSINESS ITEMS.  WHAAAAAATTTT?  This means that we potentially can go back to any of the decisions we have already made and start over again?  ARE YOU PEOPLE EVEN HUMAN????

This is a completely natural reaction; I know this because it was my reaction when it happened. Surprisingly, all the experienced delegates around me were very calm about it, and Lily didn't seem a bit perturbed. She put the question to the Body: Will you suspend the rules in order to revisit all previous items of debate? All in favor, say "Aye." All opposed, say "No." Of course the No's resounded through the hall like a roll of thunder. That's when I figured it out; we voted no, so now nobody can challenge a previous decision and ask to revisit it. We've sealed the deal, so to speak. 

Pretty nifty, eh?

This is enough information for one post; it was a pretty exciting day. Bradley and Katie had scored tickets to the LGBTQ Awards Ceremony (I wasn't cool enough to make the cut, I guess), so I had dinner in the North End with my new NEOEA friends Tammy, Ellen, and Sharron. 

Dinner was great; the company was better!

Up next: Auctions and July 4th.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!

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