Three Simple Steps for the New Year

"I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving." Morgan Freeman

Nothing says a new year has unfolded more than our reflections about how we’ll improve and the steps it takes to get there. Likewise, nothing signals a new legislative session like the goals and hopes we have for it and the steps we are willing to take to get there.

The above quote is 100% on target. If we – teachers, administrators and support professionals – simply lie down and accept the status quo we will be stepped over, or worse, stepped on. We face the possibly of having our teacher retirement changed for the worse. There are those who want to privatize public education to increase the coffers of for-profit businesses. Student testing has gotten out of hand. Teacher salaries have not increased in seven years, yet the cost of living has increased. All these are things which will be dealt with in the upcoming legislative session.

With that in mind, here are three very small steps each us need to take as we prepare to make this legislative session a success for our students and our profession. They are beginning steps, but they are the first steps in taking our vision for public education and turning it into a reality. After all, our vision is based on the reality of public education that we live every day. It is not the vision of some Texas billionaire, or ALEC, or any other for-profit company. It’s our vision, and we are responsible for bringing it into fruition.

1. Before the session starts, send your legislator a card or email simply introducing yourself as a public education professional. Let them know you plan to watch this legislative session closely. Offer to be their ‘go-to person’ about the realities of how legislation affects you and your students. They need to know public education is a priority to their voters.

2. Get your students’ parents involved. You can’t stress enough that your working environment is their child’s learning environment. Parents want what’s best for their child, but they need to know how their child is being affected.

3. Stay informed. Check the OEA webpage frequently. Let us know your personal email address so you can receive updates during the legislative session. If you have a Facebook and/or Twitter account, “like” our page and “follow” us as we frequently cover legislative meetings live via those social media outlets.

We have to keep scrambling because it’s not enough to wish things would change or lament because public education is under attack or even to hope someone else will protect our profession. We – all 35,000 of us – need to say enough is enough, and together we have a voice.

Thanks for all you do and for all you are about to do.

 

 


 

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