Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3 Candidates

I'd like to acknowledge the other candidates for president of WEA:  Kim Mead, President of Everett Education Association, and Mike Ragan, Vice President of WEA.

I asked both to attend and speak at one of my Rep Council meetings--Kim came in November and Mike was here today.  Each stayed for the entire 90-minute meeting and then had dinner with my vice president and me. 

I like both Kim and Mike, and had I not been a candidate would have been fine with voting for either one.  I had been leaning towards supporting Kim because of her success in raising teacher salaries (her top teachers earn almost $20,000 more than teachers in my local), her experience, her ability to be well-spoken, and her poise.  But I also like Mike, and was impressed with his 2007 speech at the RA when he unexpectedly won his three-way Vice President's race, his real-world experience (moving from being an engineer to student teaching in an elementary school initially), and his success in moving WEA to a fiscally-sustainable path.

So, why am I offering a third option?  In talking with Kim, I heard alliance and allegiance to current strategy and vision of leadership.  Kim supports present WEA President Mary Lindquist on how to use WEA in service of our core values.  Kim supports full implementation and funding of the new evaluation system and does not believe that WEA should provide top-down leadership.  In talking with Mike--keeping in mind the necessary constraints of any vice president--I heard earnestness and genuine support of educators, but no substantive plan to bend the prevailing narrative presently arrayed against public education.  He, too, believes that teachers need to improve, although he cedes that the WEA has been too reactive.

Kim and Mike are two establishment candidates.  Neither of them will change much of what has been going on.  If either of them wins, it will be the same pizza with different toppings.  Same old, same old.

I'm the insurgent candidate.  I am neither beholden to or enamored by the bureaucracy.  I owe no one anything.  My focus is totally on what's best for our profession and our members. 

Read the three statements.  Consider the options.  Because this election, you definitely have a choice.

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