When public education is being discussed these days, some of the terms that seem to go along with it are over-testing, state funding, externships, privatization, DeVos, right to work, and fair share fee. It’s true these are some of the challenges that lie ahead for public education. It’s also true that a large number of our members will need to be engaged as well as active in order to successfully resolve our challenges. However, let’s not get bogged down by the current political landscape of our profession. These are not the issues that inspired us to become educators. Individuals become educators because we want to make a difference in students’ lives. Educators want to inspire the next generation so that they may positively influence the future of our country. Cafeteria workers, bus drivers, teachers, and custodians mentor kids every day so that they may become better students, citizens, and eventually productive members of society that know the difference between right and wrong. Now is the time to celebrate what we do well.
Celebrate NEOEA for their long history of offering quality professional development. On Saturday, March 4, over 300 educators attended Mega-conference held at Corporate College East. NEOEA members attended three 45 minute breakout sessions from a list of 36 options. The large number of participants year after year indicates that the sessions contain valuable information which is presented by skilled and knowledgeable professionals. It’s an enjoyable day of learning as well as an opportunity to network with colleagues.
For members interested in getting more involved, the Emerging Leaders Cookout will be held at the NEOEA office in Garfield Heights on June 9. Quality professional development continues with NEOEA’s Summer Leadership Conference on July 26 and July 27, as highlighted in this issue of News and Views. And of course, mark your calendar for NEOEA Day on October 13, which is an entire day dedicated to professional development across northeastern Ohio.
Celebrate NEOEA’s participation in OEA Lobby Day which took place on March 28. Thirty-three NEOEA members met with legislators in Columbus to advocate for our students and our profession. Some of the topics discussed with representatives from both political parties included improving the pathways to graduation, reducing the amount of state testing allowable under ESSA, and NOT expanding the current school voucher system.
Celebrate your own local’s accomplishments. Some locals have replaced ineffective board members by supporting pro-public education candidates in their school board races. Other locals conducted FCPE drives that successfully increased participation. In addition, there are locals that do a great job of helping students that need school supplies and clothing, providing scholarships to graduating seniors, and donating meals to struggling families regardless of the time of year.
Celebrate the way you perform your job and represent your profession. Most students couldn’t name their superintendent or a single person on the Board of Education, but they know who you are. You greet them as they get on the bus, you talk to them in the hallways, you feed them in the cafeteria, you teach them in your classrooms, and we keep our students safe every step along the way. Educators, be proud of the job you do. You are public education.
Lastly, celebrate that another successful school year is coming to a close. Over the summer months, enjoy the time with your family and friends. On behalf of the NEOEA officers, thank you for all you do as a professional educator in North Eastern Ohio.
United We Stand,
Published in our Spring 2017 issue of News & Views.