Thoughts on teachers, teaching and the state of public education by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, and other UEA leaders.
While I appreciate that there is a special week set aside to honor educators, my admiration for what teachers do for children extends through the decades. Never doubt that our work makes a difference for children.
As I reflect on the 45 days of the 2013 Legislative Session, I am pleased not only by what was accomplished, but also by the tremendous support expressed for public schools by my fellow educators and others.
I urge our legislators to refrain from mandating major new education proposals and allow teachers the needed time, resources and professional development to ensure successful implementation of those initiatives already underway.
As the stories of the heroic acts of the teachers made their way to the media, I could not help but reflect that these selfless acts are exactly what teachers would do...give their lives to protect “their kids.”
With the 2013 Legislature coming up in January, there is another opportunity for teachers to step up and talk with their legislators. It’s more important than ever that we, as educators, make our voices heard.
Remarks given by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh at the 2012 UEA Convention Opening Session
Struggling schools are not acceptable. We should be working to make our public schools better for all students, but parent trigger is not a real solution.
We went under no illusions that our work would be easy. We knew it would be difficult…the most difficult R.A. ever. We were facing monumental changes in structure, processes and budget.
I have been visiting with new educators and Association Representatives throughout the state. Over and over I hear them speak of the excitement at beginning a new school year, the commitment to our children and the dedication to the profession of teaching.
Last week, the UEA Political Action Committee (U-PAC) Executive Committee announced it was recommending Republican gubernatorial candidate Gary Herbert in his re-election bid against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke...While I cannot speak for each and every member of the U-PAC Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to provide some background and context for the recommendation.
We cannot underestimate the necessity to share our vision, our expertise, our passion and our commitment to excellence with those in our legislature and our community. The 2012 Legislative Session was a great beginning in this work.
In order to move forward and create a great public school system, we need to commit to a healthy and productive dialogue and continue to collaborate. The Utah Education Association stands ready to do just that. I hope others will hear the call and do the same. We need to continue to listen to the group of professionals who are teaching our children and not only hold them accountable but trust them.
For the first time that I can remember, UEA was “at the table” and an integral partner in the creation of a bill. As with any negotiation, we did not get all that we wanted, but we prevented many undesirable issues from being included in the bill.
Never in my more than 30 years in education do I recall a year with so many unknowns. In many ways, I feel like I am walking from a storm into a dark cave…unsure if I will find a place of refuge or a hideous beast.
It is time for ALL parties to set aside their differences and begin the real work of improving the educational opportunities for all children.
The reality is that everyone—teachers, parents, students, schools, communities, legislators, school boards—must be partners in building quality neighborhood public schools. And we ALL should be held accountable for our students’ success.
I continue to hear the accusation that the Utah Education Association protects so-called ‘bad’ teachers. Nothing could be further from the truth. No teacher wants to follow a teacher who should not be teaching. It makes other teachers’ jobs more difficult and, more importantly, every child deserves an excellent teacher.
As I travel around the state visiting with educators...I hear concerns expressed about what many of us perceive as attacks on teachers and our profession and what the UEA is doing about it. I’d like to provide a few details…
It is now more critical than ever that we all work together to make sure a crisis doesn’t take our eye off of our goal of a great public school for all children. I’ve learned that, in stormy times like these, you can’t be on cruise control in your classroom or in your responsibilities as a teacher or as a member of your Association.