Protect Your Rights

This comes to us from Cindy Prescott, KEA Vice President, on the heels of the NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago where she was busy being one of your representatives, doing the business of education at the national level:

Concerned about the 1.9 percent cut to your salary for next year? How about an $8,000 pay cut? Yes, you read that correctly! If you were a teacher in Wisconsin right now, you’d have just heard the news that your salary will be cut by that amount next year, AND you’ll be required to work an extra hour a day!

Doesn’t sound possible, does it? Because of our education association, we’ve been used to having protection from that type of capricious action. But without our COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS (which Wisconsin teachers lost under Governor Scott Walker this last year), the very same thing could happen to us here in Washington state.

It’s been an amazing fall of dominoes to watch what has been happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Idaho, and other states. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened here. But CAN it?

We are living in a political climate in this country that includes a group of billionaires, corporate individuals, and politicians that believe unions are standing in the way of their agenda. It is an organized effort to undermine the rights and benefits we’ve worked hard over the years to put into place and to privatize education.

Is this an alarmist way of thinking? If being able to bargain for a living wage, for benefits that support you and your family during illness, for class sizes and caseloads that give you the ability to really reach all your students, and for a workload that is reasonable is an alarmist point of view, then put me in that camp!

We will be voting for the next governor of our state shortly. It is imperative that we, as educators with the best interests of the classroom, search for the facts about the candidates that are running and test their viewpoints against what we know is good for children and educators.

I know! You’re not political and don’t like to get involved in that political ridiculousness, but politics and politicians control our pay, benefits, and the conditions of our classrooms. It is up to us to be the shepherds of the environment we work in. As we all know, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. When politicians get out of education, educators can get out of politics.

STAY INFORMED! And stand strong for public education!



8 Responses to “Protect Your Rights”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    My worry is that people are too complacent about politics and getting involved with their union. By the time people realize they should help, it may be too late.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      KEA leadership is also concerned about that and we are looking into ways to increse our communication possibilities with members. We did pretty well in our email collections this year with about 93% of members now being reachable by home email. Still, there is much that we can do to get better at communicating and we are actively loking into it. Politics controls almost every aspect of our jobs and we CAN’T be complacent about that. I want Wisconsin in my rear view mirror, not at my front door.

  2. Anonymous. Says:

    ” When politicians get out of education, educators can get out of politics.”

    One of the more alarming statements that I’ve heard from a representative of public school teachers. When the public is paying the bill, the public certainly has a right for their voice to be heard and implemented. We need more public input and concern, not less.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Of course the public has a say in public education. Unfortunately, what gets said is sometimes very anti-teacher and I object to that. One of the radio ads that was run by a “pro-education” group asked the question, “Do you want a good teacher or an experienced one?” How insulting. Violations of logic notwithstanding, this is a dumb question. As a colleague said to me recently, “I have never heard a parent say, ‘Oh good, my child has a brand new teacher.'” Teachers should not need to defend themselves against arguments that come from agenda driven (read; profit), well funded, anti-public education zealots. That’s where we got NCLB, which has pretty much proven itself to be an unmitigated disaster. Go ahead and be a part of the discussion, but do your homework and come to class with well-thought out ideas based on good information.

  3. Anonymous. Says:

    Also, considering the penchant for Teacher’s Unions to engage in political campaigns and issues that are unrelated to education doesn’t at all leave me with the sense that Teacher’s Unions wish to get out of politics.

    • kenteducationassociation Says:

      Trust me on this: I did NOT get into education so that I could spend all my time dealing with politics and politicians. I don’t know of ANY teacher who did. In fact, it is tremendously difficult, given the stress and demands on teachers’ time to even get very many teachers involved in defending their profession politically. Our “penchant” is supposed to be for getting people elected to public office who are pro-education. Unfortunately we are now spending an inordinate amount of tiime defending public education and the people who have devoted their lives to teaching other people’s children. We don’t have time to deal with issues unrelated to education.

    • Anonymous Says:

      What unrelated issues are you speaking about?

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