Arizona Education Association

Fall 2013

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Delegates to the 2013 Representative Assembly raise their hands for student success NEA: It Is Time for Us to Transform Public Education By Tim Walker During the 93rd NEA Representative Assembly (RA) and Annual Meeting held July 3 – 6, 2013, in Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center, one idea resonated above the rest: When it comes to leading a movement for student success that is real and sustainable, no one is more equipped than educators. "We must empower our members to create change," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel told some 9,000 delegates who attended the gathering. "Some [people] don't like the Association's focus on quality in the classroom and in schools," Van Roekel says. "But if we don't empower educators to take control of how to define quality, then who will? Congress? Governors? State politicians? Michelle Rhee? Maybe the Koch Brothers?" asked Van Roekel referring to the billionaire businessmen whose money has helped to fund scores of recent antiworker efforts. "No," he continued. "It must be us!" Van Roekel's words embodied the energy and spirit of this year's RA gathering, which also included remarks from NEA Executive Director John Stocks, Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau, and ESP of the Year Debbie Schulze, and focused on providing educators with new programs, professional training and support, and collaboration with other educators. To meet this goal, the Association has launched "Raise Your Hand for Public Education" – a campaign designed to help educators across the nation become leaders in a national movement for public education. An energetic and interactive kickoff for the campaign was held July 2 and included a host of dynamic and respected educators – from the classroom and from the research community. They engaged the standing-room-only crowd in a day of professional rejuvenation and educator empowerment. Fall.13advo.indd 27 RA delegates displayed their commitment to "Raise Your Hand" by agreeing to increase annual membership dues by $3 per member – a move that will generate more than $6 million in funds specifically to provide Great Public Schools Grants (GPS Grants) to NEA state and local affiliates. Grants will support innovative projects and great ideas to boost student learning, such as successful implementation of Common Core Standards, school safety/antibullying programs training, and technology. They will be awarded using criteria from key elements of the Raise Your Hand campaign: successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration, and empowered leaders. In his July 5 remarks, Teacher of the Year Jeff Charbonneau urged delegates to turn away from the relentless negative portrayals of public schools in the media and redefine the message. "Rather than succumb to the notion that we are failing, we must celebrate the quality education that we are providing while strengthening our resolve to further improve," Charbonneau says. "Despite what we read in NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL AEA President Andrew PERSPECTIVE Morrill makes a point NATIONAL of personal privilege to pay tribute to the PERSPECTIVE 19 firefighters killed NATIONAL in the Yarnell Hill fire. Morrill spoke PERSPECTIVE during the NEA 151st NATIONAL Annual Representative Assembly. PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE Continued on next page AEA Advocate x Fall 2013 27 8/7/13 2:35 PM

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