What is WEA RA?
It's where members set WEA's direction
WEA is a member-driven, democratically governed organization. Once a year, about 1,000 WEA members selected by peers in their local associations gather for the WEA Representative Assembly, or WEA RA. The 2014 WEA RA is being held April 3-5 in Bellevue.
The annual delegate assembly is WEA's highest policy-making body. The meeting, which has a look and feel similar to a major political convention, provides a forum where WEA members can gather, discuss, debate and vote on the policy decisions that set the state Association's goals, priorities and policies for the coming year.
It's a place for friends and fun
The WEA RA also is a chance for social networking, to meet and visit with peers from across Washington, to appreciate the diverse views and priorities among WEA's tens of thousands of members and, of course, an opportunity to have fun. The daily schedule for RA can be long and intense, however, with evening work sessions often stretching until 10 or 11 p.m.
It's a place to express your voice for change
In the weeks before and up to the RA business sessions, members and local association leaders can propose new policy initiatives or revisions to current policies through the introduction of New Business Items. Members can also propose changes to WEA's basic governing documents by submitting constitution and bylaw changes.
In addition, the Representative Assembly is where delegates hear updates from WEA's managers and staff on current policy issues, WEA activities during the past year, and the status of earlier directives adopted in previous RA delegate votes.
It's open and transparent
The WEA RA is a forum that can be attended and observed from a gallery for outside visitors; only WEA members, however, are allowed access to the main seating area to debate and vote on RA business.
The Representative Assembly rotates each year among several major convention centers across Washington. RA business opens Thursday evening, and continues all day Friday and all day Saturday until complete. Policy discussions are often punctuated with diverse guest speakers, including education experts, community organizers and political leaders. The RA recesses during lunch and dinner so that delegates can return to their hotels or dine at nearby restaurants if they choose. A social activity such as dancing typically is scheduled one evening, and Saturday morning is set aside for voting-booth style balloting on WEA's governance candidates and any proposed changes to WEA's governance documents.
It's a way to strengthen education in Washington's public schools
RA policy discussions typically focus on organizational strategies for WEA as well as its priorities for school funding, state regulations relating to public schools, the impact of upcoming political initiatives, professional development regulations, policies that impact working conditions for WEA members, and ensuring that WEA's many member constituencies have a voice in these broader issues. WEA's members include pre- & K-12 teachers & specialists, education support professionals and higher education faculty members.
Interested in becoming a WEA RA delegate? Contact your Local Association for more information.