What Can We Do?

If you are watching the news, there isn’t much to celebrate in the world of education — especially in Michigan. It seems every day some new “attack” is made on our profession, our skills, and especially our hard-earned salary. Many of our members have wondered if the MEA is really doing its best to turn this around. Yes, WE are.

WE are the MEA. Yes, there are officers, directors, paid staff, lobbyists, etc. But there are many more of US than there are “professional” MEA workers. And if this wave of negative attitudes and legislation is going to stop, it will take all of US to do our part.

Locally, you can consider running for one of the open positions on the PEA executive board, or perhaps volunteer to represent your building next year. You can take part in one of the activities listed below. You can continue to contact government officials who hold our present and future in their hands. You can tell your friends, neighbors and family members about the quality work you do under increasingly more difficult working conditions. You can represent our profession by being the best teacher possible. You can encourage your fellow teachers who need a little boost or even mentoring.

Please save these dates and consider how YOU can help US get the message out. What is the message? That we didn’t become teachers (or counselors, speech therapists, social workers, etc.) because we wanted summers off, or wanted “Cadillac” insurance, or a fat pension. No, we entered the profession because we were passionate about our subject and our kids. We wanted to make a difference. And we still want to make a difference in the lives of children. Now, we also have to make a difference in the minds of the public — even if doing THAT wasn’t really what we signed up for.

Thursday, May 20 — attend the annual General Membership Meeting of the PEA (HS Auditorium). Vote on officers for 2010-2011, vote on the budget, hear about additional plans for our local, and share your own concerns with your colleagues.

Monday, May 24 — participate in a Kalamazoo County “rally” to show support for public schools. We know the excellence in our schools and plan to share that with the public.

Saturday, June 5 — volunteer yourself on a work day to help prepare for the Kindleberger Festival.

More specific details on these opportunities will be given soon. For now, think about the difference you have made for kids and pencil these dates into your calendar.

On behalf of your executive board, I thank each of you for the work you do every day. Please consider giving just a little more of yourself for the good of us all. We are MEA.

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