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Student WEA Wins Eight Awards at NEA RA

Student WEA members were honored June 26, 2002, with eight national awards, including one for Outstanding State Affiliate Excellence, at the Student Leadership Conference. The conference was held in Dallas prior to the NEA's annual Representative Assembly.

"I am extremely proud of our Student WEA members," WEAC President Stan Johnson said. "Their hard work and dedication earned this recognition and speaks to the promise they hold for the future of our great schools."

Wisconsin's 1,700 Student WEA members attend colleges and universities in the state and are studying to become teachers.

The group won awards in eight categories:

  • Outstanding local advisor: Kitty Follmer, Marian College.
  • Outstanding local student leader: Jane Weidner, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
  • Outstanding local excellence: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
  • Outstanding CLASS project: Outreach to Teach, Lewiston Elementary.
  • Outstanding state newsletter: The Student Educator.
  • Outstanding state organizer: Nancy Clark.
  • Outstanding state affiliate excellence.
  • Largest membership increase.

The Student WEA chapters at UW-Stevens Point, UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire, and Wisconsin Lutheran College also received recognition for their Web sites.

RA delegates elect leadership team
The nearly 9,000 delegates who attended the NEA Representative Assembly, held July 2-5, elected a new slate of officers, crafted policy pertaining to virtual schools and the ESEA law, revised NEA resolutions and enjoyed the remarks of outstanding colleagues.

The delegation elected Reg Weaver, a middle school science teacher from Illinois, to serve as NEA President. Weaver has been NEA's vice president for the past six years. After his election, Weaver addressed delegates and emphasized the organization's energy and commitment.

"NEA is everywhere, and we are the right people in the right places, at the right time and we will make the right choices for public education," he said.

High school math teacher Dennis Van Roekel was elected NEA vice president. He is from Arizona and has served as secretary-treasurer for five years. Lily Eskelsen, an elementary teacher from Utah, was elected to replace him.

New policies adopted
Delegates created guidelines for quality distance learning programs during the annual meeting. The new policy is designed to help assure that technology is used as a tool in effective instruction, not a mechanism for replacing face-to-face interaction with teachers.

The Representative Assembly also approved the creation of an advisory committee to gather input and devise strategies for making sure the ESEA act improves opportunities for children and public education. Over the coming year, NEA will also advocate for resources at the local, state and federal levels to enhance professional development for school employees and help schools in need.

Delegates drafted several changes to the organization's resolutions, the items that define the principles and philosophical framework for the NEA and its affiliates. The RA amended items on standardized testing to clarify that such assessments should only be used to improve the quality of instruction, and incorporated new information and potential misuse.

The RA also adopted new language to define NEA's views that charter schools should be laboratory schools, and should have the same standards of access and accountability as public schools.

Inspirational educators deliver uplifting remarks
During the four-day meeting, delegates had the opportunity to hear the remarks of Chauncey Veatch, the National Teacher of the Year; and JoAnn Falk, the National Education Support Professional of the Year.

Veatch, a social studies teacher from California, addressed delegates on July 4 and stressed the importance of public education in a democratic society. "Having served my country wearing the uniform of the armed forces, it is important that I share with you that there is no work that I have done that is more patriotic than to be a teacher," he said.

Falk, a school secretary from Colorado, addressed the importance of collaboration in schools. "Value the support staff in your school buildings and classrooms," she said. "We must work as teams to improve education for all our students."

The 2003 NEA Representative Assembly will be held in New Orleans.

Posted July 12, 2002

Education News