As delegates begin preparing for the WEA-RA which is less than two weeks away, they will have campaign material from each of the candidates. Here is information in the flyer that I prepared for delegate packets:
• We should fight with every fiber of our being and every tool available to us against the new evaluation system. TPEP attempts to reduce teaching to a number to separate those who conform to a corporate model from those who do not. It is fundamentally at odds with our core values.
• The WEA Board is dangerously wrong in its legislative priority to “fully implement” and “fully fund” the new evaluation system. By helping those who at best are misguided and at worst maleficent, the WEA is squandering its potential and duty to protect our profession.
• WEA leaders should lead. Current WEA leaders assert that the best organizational strategy is to capitalize on grassroots efforts. I disagree. Without a well-thought out and vetted plan, we underutilize our power. Whereas I admire whenever my colleagues in the field achieve local success—like the Garfield teachers who said “no” to at least one assessment—we as an organization would have much more influence if that one wildcat action was part of a systematic and coordinated effort. WEA leaders should do more, much more than just be part of photo-ops or to waste, year after year, our time at RAs presiding over debates about what color t-shirt we should wear on what day.
• The WEA should be a professional, non-partisan organization. We should not be a wing of the Democratic Party. Many of our members are either Republicans, not Democrats, or unaffiliated. We should hold elected officials accountable to our agenda and our core values, regardless of party.
• We should oppose the education reform movement. It has damaged public education, demoralized good teachers, shortchanged students, and has absolved parents, lawmakers, students themselves, and others from performing their vital roles. Narrowing the curriculum, devolving learning experiences to endless vats of data, obsessing over assessments, ignoring creativity and individuality, and scapegoating teachers should rally the WEA to an outraged and potent militancy.
• “Failing schools” and “bad teachers” are a manufactured hoax that skilled, relentless, and powerful adversaries have foisted on the public. We have been insufficiently skilled, relentless, and powerful in response.
I am not an establishment candidate. I have not made a career in the WEA bureaucracy. I am a full-time classroom teacher in my 31st year of teaching. I’ve also been my local association’s president for ten years, and have been active in regional, state, and national issues as they relate to public education.