Over 9,000 delegates attend the National Education Association Representative Assembly (NEA RA). The delegates are charged with setting policy for the 3 million member organization. New Jersey sends between 500 and 600 delegates to the NEA RA, which this year will be held in Atlanta from July 2 to July 6. Delegates are expected to arrive in Atlanta on July 1 and return home on July 7.
At the NEA RA, Delegates vote on amendments to the NEA Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing Rules. They also vote on proposed resolutions and new business items, setting forth NEA’s policy and position statements. Many of these actions have a direct impact on NEA members in New Jersey.
Delegates will also elect NEA’s president, vice president and secretary-treasurer, as well as elect members to the NEA Executive Committee. If any vacancies occur in NEA officer or other Executive Committee positions, these may also be filled at the NEA RA.
Delegates must be elected
All delegates must be elected—either by members of their local association, a cluster of smaller local associations, or as state delegates. Open nominations for all delegates are mandatory. Every member must have a reasonable opportunity to make nominations, to be nominated, or to self-nominate.
Each local association may elect one delegate to the NEA RA for every 150 members, or major fraction thereof. If a local affiliate has fewer than 76 NEA members, it may join with one or more other local affiliates, each with fewer than 76 members, to form units for the purpose of representation. Allocation of delegate credentials is based on active membership in NEA as of Jan. 15.
All local affiliates must hold elections for local delegates and successor local delegates and inform NJEA of the results no later than April 10.
In addition to local association delegates, NJEA members will elect state delegates and successor state delegates this spring. Candidates nominate themselves for these positions online. Candidates are placed on the ballot according to the county where they are employed or their unit of representation (e.g., higher education).
To complete the online self-nomination form, go to njea.org/NJEAelections.
Ensuring ethnic-minority representation
NEA Bylaw 3-1.g requires each state affiliate to develop a plan to send a state delegation to the NEA RA that reflects the state’s ethnic-minority proportions. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 41 percent of New Jersey residents identify themselves as part of an ethnic-minority group. Thus, it is NJEA’s goal to achieve at least that level of ethnic-minority representation in its delegation.
To assist in meeting the requirements of NEA Bylaw 3-1.g, the NJEA Delegate Assembly established ethnic-minority-concerns positions. One state delegate seat is set aside from every four seats allocated.
While it is anticipated that the establishment of these minority-concerns positions is likely to increase ethnic-minority participation at the NEA RA, members need not be a member of an ethnic-minority group to be elected to minority-concerns positions.
All NJEA members can self-nominate for both regular and minority-concerns positions. If elected in both positions, a member must decide which seat to represent so that a successor delegate can take the open position.
Similarly, members may place themselves in nomination at the local level and at the state level. Members who win both local and state delegate seats must decide which seat they will represent so that successor delegates can take the open positions.
For complete rules and procedures, and to self-nominate for state delegate and minority-concerns positions, visit njea.org/NJEAelections.