The UEA’s governing body, the House of Delegates, met Saturday, May 17, at Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan to conduct the Association’s business. Delegates heard reports on the status of the Association, discussed and adopted the UEA Legislative Program and budget, and discussed and adopted policies to govern the Association.
Nearly 300 delegates, elected by their peers in each of the state’s local associations, and guests participated in the 2014 House.
Building Relationships, New Leaders
Report by NEA State Directors Ryan Anderson and Sue Dickey
In his final report to the House of Delegates as NEA State Director, Grand County teacher Ryan Anderson provided a historical perspective on his years of service. “Whenever we walk new territory, it is important to be aware of our "backtrail"…where we have been,” he said.
Anderson chronicled the organization’s successes, including a “shift to a positive agenda” by both the NEA and UEA. “We know that our schools need to adapt and change in order to prepare students to meet the challenges they will face in their lifetimes,” he said. “We know that we do this through relationship building…new collaborative models of working together that involve parents, communities, business and political leaders.”
Anderson has served the maximum number of terms as NEA State Director. Park City teacher Heidi Matthews was elected to replace him.
The state’s other NEA State Director, Granite teacher Sue Dickey, thanked Anderson for his service. “Ryan has a very thoughtful, respectful way of helping us all see the big picture,” she said. “I also want to thank Ryan for his years of dedication to his local and to UEA and NEA. Ryan may be finishing this particular job as NEA Director, but I know he is not finished serving this organization.”
Dickey stressed the importance of getting others involved in association work. “Someone once told me it is our job to replace ourselves. In other words, we need to be on the lookout for the person to do our job,” she said.
Report by UEA Executive Director Mark Mickelsen
“Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something.” Indira Gandhi
“Fifty years ago this month, the Utah Education Association led a two-day walkout – the first statewide teachers’ strike in America – to punctuate the need for additional public education funding,” recalled UEA Executive Director Mark Mickelsen. “You could say the Association’s members…took a giant step forward. They disturbed the status quo. They fought for what they believed was right and just.”
Recounting other milestones in the Association’s 150-year history, Mickelsen made the point that continued progress often requires disturbing the status quo.
“In 2007…the Association faced a watershed moment in its history,” said Mickelsen. “You know it as the battle to defeat private school vouchers. We received more than $3 million from the National Education Association…money that allowed us to keep a strong message before the public. But it was our “boots on the ground” that sealed the fate of vouchers on Election Day. Step forward…yes. Disturb…you bet.”
Mickelsen concluded with a charge for UEA members to continue to fight for what they believe and for the cause of public education. “Thank you for allowing me to be a part of an Association that is not afraid to step forward or disturb the status quo,” he said. “The issues we deal with in public education are diverse and constantly changing. But the great cause that is public education reaches beyond our organization into the very fabric of society.”
Mickelsen’s House of Delegates report was his last as UEA Executive Director. He has announced his retirement effective August 1 this year.
Taking the Lead in Our Profession
Report by UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh
|Five departing UEA Board members were honored at the 2014 House of Delegates: Kathleen (Wagner) Cheshire, Council of Local Presidents; Connie Sorenson, Granite; Melissa Brown, Jordan; Steve Seamons, Northern; and Ryan Anderson, NEA Board.
“I don’t have to tell any of you that ‘SAGE happened,’” began UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh in her address to the 2014 House of Delegates. The comment was a reference to the statewide computer-adaptive Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence test and the ‘SAGE Happens’ buttons developed by a UEA member.
Gallagher-Fishbaugh shared data collected from a statewide survey of UEA members about SAGE testing and discussed next steps the UEA will be taking (see article). She then addressed work being done as part of the Educators Taking the Lead initiative.
“Through our collaborative learning and working we did amazing things this past year,” said Gallagher-Fishbaugh. “From the creation of the toolkit, to 10-minute meetings on the Teaching Standards, Summer Leadership Academy and our Teaching Standards training in the fall, we have much to celebrate.”
Local presidents Barbera Wayment (Weber), Susen Zobel (Granite), Don Paver (Davis), Curt Benjamin (Sevier) and Christie Giblon (Provo) were invited to share successes they are experiencing in their locals around Educators Taking the Lead.
“When our superintendent saw our (evaluation toolkit) presentation, he asked that we present to all administrators,” said Wayment. “One administrator commented that they ‘can’t believe the teachers are so far ahead of us’ (on preparing for evaluations)”.
Benjamin shared the story of a teacher who joined the association after hearing about the UEA’s Educators Taking the Lead work. “Over 50 percent of (the High Desert UniServ) has had training and received toolkits,” he said. “We have been able to build an alliance with our administration around standards and training.”
Gallagher-Fishbaugh then shared several metrics to demonstrate that the initiative “is having a positive impact on classroom instruction and teacher feedback…and validate that we are on the right track.” Those metrics include:
- 219 new building-level leaders
- 410 more Association-sponsored events
- 7,420 more members participated in Association-sponsored events
- 40 percent of Association members trained on the toolkit and standards
- 35 new Millennial-age leaders identified
- 817 more Millennial-age members participated in Association sponsored events
Next steps in the initiative include continued support of the Utah Teaching Standards, additions and revisions to the toolkit, additional leader training at Summer Leadership Academy, a focus on Student Learning Objectives and identifying Student Growth Leads, said Gallagher-Fishbaugh.
“Our work on Educators Taking the Lead is making a difference. That is what our work is about…empowerment and true leadership,” she concluded.
Action on House Bills, Budget, Other Business
The 2014 UEA House of Delegates adopted the 2015 UEA Legislative Platform and Priorities, the 2014-15 UEA budget, and policies governing the Association. In addition, the House considered three bills to amend the UEA Constitution and Bylaws and two New Business Items.
UEA Legislative Platform & Support Positions—
Delegates at the House approved the UEA Legislative Platform, Support Positions & Priorities for 2015. The approved documents added a few new items to the platform, including language that supports legislation that:
- Allows for educators to govern themselves through the licensing and professional practices process;
- Prohibits tax credits for private or home-schooled students;
- Rejects school grading and/or accountability legislation which negatively impacts schools, students and educators;
- Limits the expansion of charter schools, which siphon monies from neighborhood public schools; and
- Reduces the amount of standardized assessments being administered.
Bills to Amend the UEA Bylaws—
The UEA Board of Directors sponsored one bill to amend the UEA Constitution and two to amend the UEA Bylaws. All three were approved by delegates as proposed. Bills No. C1 and No. B1 provided clarification and consistency between the UEA Constitution and the UEA Bylaws. Bill No. B2 added language to define the term “Substantially Injurious” as it relates to revocation of membership.
Each year, the House adopts UEA Resolutions to state the official UEA position on various topics. The only substantial change to the approved Resolutions was the addition of a statement supporting local, state and national membership by qualified university students.
New Business Items—
Two new business items were proposed:
New Business Item No. 1, proposed by Canyons Education Association member Jen Jacobs, would urge the UEA to “work with the Utah State Office of Education to eliminate non-literacy or numeracy assessments given to elementary students…” The bill was amended and debated, but was ultimately voted down by delegates.
New Business Item No. 2 would require the UEA to establish an online membership enrollment form by 2015. Following substantial debate, delegates approved a substitute motion to refer this proposal to the UEA Board of Directors for further consideration.
2014-15 UEA Budget—
UEA Vice President Tom Nedreberg presented the proposed 2014-15 UEA budget, which was provided to each delegate prior to attendance. “(Operating expenditures) are based on past experience and projected needs, but they also reflect a transition in strategic goals, with a core emphasis on ‘Teaching and Learning’ and an internal Association focus on ‘Capacity Building,’” he said. The proposed budget, which was previously approved by the UEA Budget and Audit Committee, the UEA Rules and Resolutions Committee and the UEA Board of Directors, was adopted by the House of Delegates.
PAC Donations: ‘U’ Flag Flies Again
As has become tradition, House of Delegates attendees were able to contribute to the UEA PAC fund in honor of a designated University. The flag of the school receiving the most donations earns a spot on the UEA’s flagpole during the UEA Convention. After several years of hoisting the USU Aggie flag, the University of Utah took the honors for the second straight year, with Utah State and Weber State following second and third in contributions.
Delegates also contributed to U-PAC through a basket raffle. Donated prizes ranged from a complete barbeque set to a patriotic ‘Republicans for public education’ basket. In all, the activities generated more than $1,300 for U-PAC.