The head of the state teacher’s union isn’t sure how he’ll vote on a proposal that would expand the ranks of those who can join the National Education Association — and potentially expand the membership of the Iowa State Education Association.
ISEA president Chris Bern of Knoxville says the proposal before National Education Association delegates would allow those who work in preschools, as well as teachers in private schools, to join the N.E.A. "It’s a very tricky thing, so I’m sure that we’re going to have some people in our delegation and there’ll be several people across the country who are not in favor of allowing private K-12 educators to join the NEA since we (have) a public-school focus."
But Bern says allowing preschool teachers to join the teacher’s union is seen in a much more favorable light. "There are so many people teaching in preschools and it’s such a big focus, so there’s a large group of teachers who could use the support of a state or national organization," Bern says, "but right now NEA doesn’t allow that."
Bern is one of the 9000 delegates at the National Education Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
If preschool teachers were to be allowed into the National Education Association, it means the teachers’ union could organize in preschools and collectively bargain for wages and benefits. Other unions, like the Service Employees International Union, have been organizing preschool teachers into their union.