Sunday, September 30, 2012

Teachers and Political Action: Getting into the Swing of Things

I've been thinking lately about how most teachers are not very political, and they're not very politically involved.

Sure, there are a few who are, but it seems to me that if they were politically active then there would be much more pushback on all the things that are being done to them by legislators who don't know much about teaching. And I've been wondering why that is. Is it because they fundamentally prefer working with individuals rather than systems change? Is it because during the school year they are overwhelmed with teaching? I'm interested in your opinions about this. Why???

Yesterday, however, I heard about something that made me think maybe I could be wrong. You might recall that over the past two years, Ohio's Senate Bill 5 proposed major rules changes for labor rules affecting public employees. It was far-reaching, and it passed. It was then repealed.

And in the process, it energized a lot of teachers. This fall, there are ten teachers running as Democrats for the Ohio legislature. Ten!

I heard about this from my friend Rebecca. One of her closest friends, Maureen Reedy, is running for the Ohio House of Representatives in Ohio's 24th district. Maureen has been a teacher for 29 years, and in 2002, she was the Ohio Teacher of the Year.

Maureen's web site has this to say about education:
As a 29-year veteran educator and Ohio’s Teacher of the Year, I am convinced that strong public school systems are not only the foundation of our democracy but also the cornerstone to lasting economic prosperity.
I am the mother of two wonderful children who are graduates of our Districts’ public schools and are second generation Buckeyes at The Ohio State University. As parents and citizens, we invest in our schools and communities so that our children come through our classroom doors ready to learn, thrive and build successful and secure futures.
In our District and in Ohio, we are looking for stellar school systems whose bottom lines are not based on a “For Profit” business model, but on the betterment of society by cultivating young minds that can meet three complex challenges of the 21st century. (Emphasis added.)

Maureen Reedy is also featured in this piece on Diane Ravitch's blog.

Learn more about some of the other teachers running for office in Ohio in this NPR article. One of them is the Cleveland Heights Teachers' Union President.

Here is a piece from Plunderbund about why teachers may be good for the state legislature. This line caught my eye:
the ability of a teacher to organize and convey information using a variety of methods to large groups of immature and uncooperative individuals seems like exactly what we need in the Statehouse.

OK Michigan teachers--how about you?

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