Political Action

DEA is a group of amazing teachers. We’ve all seen and read the poems and emails about touching lives and making a difference in the world. We know these writings to be true. We know about the small victories we have everyday as well as the larger ones that receive press coverage. We know the hours we put into preparing for classes, grading, taking more classes, professional development and so on. We know we give up our “free time” almost daily to meet with other teachers and students. We know that we need to be on our “A game” from the second the kids walk into the door until the moment the hallways clear. We know that when we go to bed at night we are drained and exhausted and that the following morning we are mentally reviewing our lesson plans for the day before the water in the shower begins to warm.

For many of us politics is the last thing we want to worry about. So why is it that our union keeps trying to get us more involved politically when all we want to do is teach our students?

A union is an organization of workers who join together to have their voices heard. Politicians are not teachers. They’ve never needed endure the daily pressures of teaching. They’ve never needed to engage with 28 sixteen year olds at 7:15 in the morning, and be effective. They’ve never completely missed a lunch because a student asked for some help. They’ve never had a parent tie them up for an hour in a grocery store. They’ve never needed to worry about class sizes, paper grading, conferences, AYP, IEP meetings, professional development, or needing to carry out any of the unfunded mandates they impose.

Yet these are the people who decide what happens in our schools and to our students, often without asking for your input, or ignoring it completely (isn’t amazing how many people assume they can do what you do?) And that is why your voice is important. When politicians decide more testing is needed, your student’s learning suffers. And when they decide your pay depends on those test scores you are the one who could be punished. Recent legislative action involving education includes, but isn’t limited to: NCLB, tiered licensing, planning time, mandatory child abuse videos, length of workday, length of student contact time, school vouchers, healthcare pooling, STRS changes, standardized testing, pay for performance, NBCT, class size, FBI background checks, etc.

You may not want to get involved with politics, but politics will get involved with you. Yes, it’s vital we have a political voice, for you, your family, your school, your community, your students and the future of our great society.

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