Frequently Asked Questions about VEA
Who can join VEA?
Chances are, you can!
VEA stands up for public education, Virginia’s students, and for education employees, and we welcome those who work in and for public schools. Our primary categories of membership are:
- Active professional, such as classroom teachers or counselors;
- Active education support professional, such as bus driver, paraprofessional, or cafeteria worker;
- Student, meaning those enrolled in or preparing for a teacher education program;
- Retired educators at least 45 years of age or eligible for a pension for a public education position. (Active members also may join as “Pre-Retired” members.)
We offer a number of flexible options and alternatives, including membership options for those engaged in part-time public education duties, higher education or public education administrative positions, or substitute teaching.
Association membership is “unified.” When you join, you automatically become a member at three levels: your local Association, the VEA, and the National Education Association. Dues vary by category. For details, contact your local UniServ office, your Local Association, or VEA or join online through NEA and pay by credit card.
Why should I join VEA?
With more than 60,000 educator members across the state, the VEA is Virginia’s premier education organization and the commonwealth’s strongest advocate for quality public education for all children. Membership guarantees you a range of benefits:
- Professional development. VEA offers training programs in a variety of subjects, including classroom management, national board certification, No Child Left Behind legislation, special education, teacher licensure, conflict resolution, and time management.
- Advocacy. Many key education policy and funding decisions are made in Richmond by the General Assembly, where VEA serves as a strong advocate and watchdog for public education and public education employees. VEA, through its members, is your voice at the table when important decisions are made. In addition, VEA reaches out to the community each year through public relations and advertising activities to promote Association priorities.
- Member rights/legal protection. VEA members are automatically covered by a $1 million liability policy while they are performing their duties. In addition, members get discounts on other legal services. VEA helps safeguard member rights through a network of trained professionals, called UniServ directors, in offices around the state. UniServ directors stand ready to assist you if and when issues surrounding your employment and working conditions arise.
- Member communications. VEA keeps members informed and in touch through its website, written communications, and frequent meetings around the state where educators can voice their concerns and be kept up-to-date on Association programs and activities. All members receive the Virginia Journal of Education and VEA News, two publications designed to keep them in the know.
- Retirement. VEA works year-round to improve benefits for retired educators and to protect the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) from attempts to use retirement funds to balance the state budget.
My address has changed. How can I update it?
Your local Association, the VEA, and the National Education Association share an integrated database to update member records. Just contact your local UniServ office or the VEA to change any of your contact information. Note: After you make the change, you may receive an issue of NEA Today or the VEA News at your old address, because member lists must be sent to the mailing house several weeks before press dates.
How can I contact VEA headquarters staff?
The contact information for VEA headquarters is as follows:
Virginia Education Association
116 South 3rd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Tel: 804-648-5801 or 800-552-9554
Switchboard hours are M-F 8:15 am to 4:30 pm.
Click here for names, responsibilities, and contact information for VEA staff.
How can I submit an article for publication in the Virginia Journal of Education?
The Virginia Journal of Education is published six times per year, and many of the journal’s premier pieces are written by VEA members themselves. The Journal belongs to you!
We’re interested in thought-provoking and practical articles that will inform and educate other Virginia educators. The most attractive manuscripts are based on the author’s own experience and contain fresh insights on an issue or controversy, or helpful tips and strategies on how to improve an educational practice or program.
Submitted manuscripts are selected on a competitive basis. The Editor’s decision is final, and all articles are edited for length, clarity, and style.
We prefer to receive your articles as Word files, and please be sure to include your name, address, job title, and local Association.
To get a sense of the publication’s content and style, click here. For more guidance, contact Tom Allen, Editor, Virginia Journal of Education, 116 South 3rd Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Tel: 804-648-5801 or 800-552-9554. Fax: 804-775-8379. E-mail: Tallen@veanea.org.
Why is the VEA involved in politics?
For better—and sometimes for worse—politics affect nearly every facet of public education. From the decision to establish Virginia’s Standards of Learning to the laws that affect a public employee’s retirement benefits, there are few aspects of public education that are not affected by political decisions at some level.
VEA leaders and members advocate for sound laws and policies, from local school board and city council meetings to the General Assembly in Richmond, and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Their goal: to promote what’s best for students and public education employees in Virginia. At the state level, VEA played the leading role in helping to secure $1.4 billion in additional funding for deserving public schools.
If you’re interested in boosting your participation in determining local regulations and policies, contact your local Association president or UniServ office. To stay abreast of Virginia legislative action, click here.
What does the VEA- Fund for Children and Public Education do?
The Virginia Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education is VEA’s voluntary political action committee. Its mission is to help elect friends of public education. The VEA Fund makes campaign contributions to candidates for the legislature, statewide office, local school boards, and boards of supervisors or city councils. Of the money raised, 40 percent goes to the VEA Fund, 40 percent to local Association funds, and 20 percent to the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education.
Two important things to know about the VEA Fund:
1. No VEA dues money is used for contributions to candidates for public office. The VEA Fund is funded by voluntary contributions of members, who donate at events or give through monthly deductions from their checking account or credit card.
2. The VEA Fund recommends candidates after putting them through a “party-blind, issue-driven” process. Each candidate is asked to fill out a questionnaire, based on the Association’s legislative goals. Members of the VEA Fund and local funds also interview potential candidates. The VEA Fund contributes to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.
Click here to access our Members Only area and learn more about the VEA Fund. Questions? Contact Roger Gray, VEA Government Relations, 116 South 3rd Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Tel: 804-648-5801 or 800-552-9554. Fax: 804-775-8379. E-mail: RGray@veanea.org.
How does VEA arrive at its positions on issues?
The VEA is a thoroughly democratic organization, and all positions are worked out by and through members. Each of the VEA’s more than 130 local associations, each with its own officers, are part of a VEA governing district. Each district is entitled to elect members as representatives on VEA’s Board of Directors. VEA policies and positions are discussed by members, officers, and district and state boards of directors, then approved by the annual statewide Delegate Assembly, which is the Association’s official policymaking body.
What is the VEA’s relationship with the National Education Association?
The VEA is a state affiliate of the NEA, whose 3.2 million members make it the largest employee organization in the United States. For more information on the NEA and its programs, visit http://www.nea.org/.
Have a question about a legal issue or situation?
Click here to view a separate file of common legal questions and answers, prepared by a VEA attorney.
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