What! The National Education Association Representative Assembly—the RA—is the highest decision-making body within the over 3 million-member NEA. With over 8,000 delegates, the RA is also the world’s largest democratic deliberative body.
How long is the RA? Over the course of eight business sessions spanning four days, RA delegates debate the vital issues that impact American public education and set Association policy and activities for the year ahead.
Is the Representative Assembly the same as the Annual Meeting? No. The Annual Meeting is the six-day period of time that includes the Representative Assembly. The first two days of the Annual Meeting are devoted to delegate registration and a wide range of pre-RA meetings, conferences, and exhibits. *Prior to the RA, states hold their caucus meetings which delegates are required to attend. Delegates need to plan on attending both their state caucus meetings AND the RA if elected.
How do NEA members become delegates? NEA members elect their peers to represent their concerns at the RA. The delegates represent NEA local and state affiliates, student members, retired members, and other segments of the NEA membership. The elected delegates determine NEA’s strategic plan and budget, legislative program, and resolutions. Delegates also vote, by secret ballot, on proposed amendments to the NEA constitution and bylaws and elect NEA’s executive officers, Executive Committee members, and at-large members of the NEA Board of Directors.
Why is the annual meeting held over the July 4th holiday? Traditionally, July 4th was chosen because it was convenient for many educators. It was a time when most schools had finished the regular school year. In most cases, July 4th did not interrupt summer school sessions, and cities are often able to offer more availability and lower prices when meetings are scheduled over the holiday.
Is the RA always in the same city? No. The site of each year’s NEA Annual Meeting is determined by the NEA Board of Directors. Future meetings will be held in, Denver (2014) and Washington DC (2016).
What factors determine where NEA holds its annual meetings? The NEA Board of Directors decides the location of the annual meeting. These decisions are limited by the size of a city’s convention center, hotel availability, dates and affordable pricing. Many convention centers do not have enough space for the general session (the Representative Assembly).
How many people support the convention while it is going on? Several convention center personnel such as laborers, food service workers, security personnel, and cleaning personnel help us during the Annual Meeting. Also, there are about 300 NEA staff and almost 250 volunteers who support the convention.
Locally, we’re able to send five delegates to the Representative and we’ll solicit candidates and hold the elections in the spring of every the school year.