On Saturday, December 7, Medina Delegates David Hamman, Katie Shaffer, Bradley Dalzell, Ed Dargay, Rob Thompson, Austin Argabright, Tricia Schuck, Laina Makepeace, and Stephani Itibrout represented MCTA at the Ohio Education Association Representative Assembly at the Columbus Fairgrounds. It was a long day with a long drive, but it was definitely worthwhile.
The Rittman High School Steel Drum Band greeted us as we entered.
At 9:00, President Scott DiMauro opened the Assembly with the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and an invocation. Then we quickly got down to business.
This was an exciting RA because the guest speaker was the President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen Garcia. I admire Lily so much because she is smart and strong and powerful. She is also a dynamic speaker, and her message to rally to bring about change through the upcoming elections was meaningful.
|NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia|
Lily spent much of her time showing us NEA’s webpage devoted to candidates for the election, Education Votes. The site is very useful in its presentation of information. One of the best tools on the site (in my opinion) is the Candidate Comparison, which allows you to pick any of the current Presidential candidates (Democrat and Republican) and match their platforms on current issues. Lily has also posted interviews with some of the candidates, and she plans to continue to interview candidates with questions that we can post on that site. So cool.
In addition, NEA has a form you can complete if you are interested in becoming a delegate to either the Democratic or Republican convention. If you are interested, NEA will pass that information on to the Ohio Education Association, who will actively work with you to help you become a delegate. Lily’s goal is to make education a top issue in the upcoming election, and I think she is making the right moves to make that happen.
After Lily’s inspirational speech, OEA held a legislative panel consisting of two Republicans and two Democrats who spoke about current legislation to reduce excessive state testing, eliminate value added measurements, and repeal state takeovers of schools.
I think that many union members don’t think about what their state and national unions do for them. Today’s Representative Assembly showed me that OEA and NEA are working hard for the well being of teachers and students. Another example of this was OEA’s stand against state report cards, which you can read here.
Regardless of your political affiliation, you can find great information on both OEA’s and NEA’s web pages. It’s important for all of us to educate ourselves on current events so that we can more effectively advocate for our students. It all can start with just a few clicks. . .
Lastly, two MCTA members received awards for their contributions to the Fund for Children and Public Education. Michelle Meuler, Vice-President of MCTA, received the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Stephani Itibrout received the President’s Award. The FCPE is our Political Action Committee. Our union dues do not go towards any political lobbying, so it is important that we support our students by fighting for them in the legislative arena. This is how we reduce state testing; this is how we reverse state takeover.
Do you donate to the FCPE? It is easy to do: you can make a one-time donation, or you can donate straight from your paycheck. One dollar a paycheck can make a huge difference. See your building reps if you have questions.