Arizona Education Association

Advocate Summer 2012

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POINT OF VIEW by Andrew F. Morrill Our Calling, Our Profession, Our Voice Over the course of this legislative session, AEA has waded deeply on your behalf into teacher evaluation and performance-based pay to improve a bill that at first showed little understanding of either of these teacher-quality issues. By the time you read this, HB2823 will likely be on the Governor's desk, waiting signing. AEA initially opposed the bill; but because AEA officers, staff, and members were able to improve the bill significantly, our position now is neutral. Despite significant improvement, the bill still It calls on districts to balance the need for teacher support and professional development with the responsibility to ensure that students learn from a committed, qualified teacher who can achieve results. Second, educator experience is critical to exempts charter school and online teachers and therefore fails to apply its standards for teacher and principal quality, support, or performance to all Arizona public schools. This exemption violates another core AEA belief: that fairness, equity, and respect must apply to all. (Visit AEA's website to view the content of HB2823.) HB2823 in its original form, and the critical effort to inform its content, reflect two imperatives. First, educators must act collectively in AEA OFFICERS Andrew F. Morrill President Joe Thomas Vice-President Nidia Lias Treasurer AEA STAFF Sheryl Mathis Executive Director Sheenae Shannon Editor Penny Skubal Graphic Design Doug Stagner Editorial Associate Roxanna Horine Advertising Associate - 9 Arizona to drive forward the belief that teaching is an esteemed profession. This is one of AEA's core values, and it often serves as a beacon by which we guide our approach to policy. While HB2823 references only teachers and principals, AEA members know that the expertise unique to public education roles includes our ESP brothers and sisters. When HB2823's proponents first unleashed the bill, it fell so far short of respecting or understanding the teaching profession—and a district's role in shaping teacher quality—that it met with powerful rejection from several education stakeholders. Now, in its current, amended form, the bill charges districts with developing policies that further the intent of teacher evaluation: to improve performance. The AEA Advocate is published by the Arizona Education Association, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, Arizona 85004-1532. Phone: 602-264-1774 or 800-352-5411 Fax: 602-240-6887 E-mail: AEA's Web site may be found at Permission to reprint any material originating with this publication is granted provided that credit is given to the AEA Advocate. 4 Summer 2012 ❘ AEA Advocate shaping effective policy. The proponents of HB2823 may take public credit for this bill, but they demonstrated no true understanding of the complex nature of teaching, of connecting student growth to teacher quality, of the many educator roles that impact students daily, nor of teacher development or the complexity of designing performance-based pay plans informed by student learning. Those who claim to stand for children must also stand on relevant experience, first-hand knowledge of teaching, and an ethical awareness of who all educators really are and what they truly do in the lives of students. It took educators to rectify HB2823. It takes educators standing together to build sound and ethical education policy. Your calling, your profession, and your voice—all facets of your identity as an educator. Your AEA membership demonstrates your commitment to the values of your profession in public education and to the principles of fairness, equity, and respect for all. We are united through our membership; our collective commitment and work give substance to our values as we endeavor to shape public education policy and teach to high ethics and high standards. With gratitude, Andrew F. Morrill, President Arizona Education Association The AEA Advocate (ISSN 0194-8849) is published in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer for $3.50 per year by the Arizona Education Association, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1532. Periodicals postage paid at Phoenix, Arizona. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the AEA Advocate, 345 East Palm Lane, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1532.

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