Posted by John Holland on Sunday, 07/06/2014
If you were present, raise your hand and say “Here!"
Teachers leading their local unions. “Here!”
Teachers leading in the blogosphere. “Here!”
Teachers challenging local school boards to fund critical education initiatives. “Here!”
Teachers representing marginalized families. “Here!”
Teachers running teacher-powered schools. “Here!”
Teachers working to create more equitable schools. “Here!”
Teachers creating student centered schools. “Here!”
Teachers leading the the fight against the erosion of the profession. “Here!”
Now that everyone is here, let’s get to work.
Video: Recorded 7/3/2014
When I attended the Raise Your Hand: Empowered Educators pre-NEA annual meeting, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was exciting to be included. I had a number of suspicions confirmed at the event and I am glad they were. I thought that the NEA was changing in response to the education landscape that has worked to weaken collective action.
Chris Lloyd called for a transformation of the organization into a professional guild. This would mean setting standards for entry to the profession, as well as designing and implementing accountability mechanisms that are responsive to the context of teaching.
Montserrat Garibay, an NBCT, spoke about mobilizing teachers, parents, and the community to save pre-k in her home town.
Daniela Robles called on educators to stop retreating and to begin fighting, collaborating, taking part in the National Board process, and speaking out about teaching.
Most importantly, outgoing President Dennis Van Roekel called on teachers to “Proceed until apprehended.” He framed this call to action in the context of a child's learning. Children do not ask permission to explore the world. When they see a butterfly, they don’t ask, “Can I chase it?” They go, they do, they learn.
I believe that the NEA is headed in a powerful direction. By including non-members in the event, the Association opened up room for inclusion of new perspectives. I was happy to meet a number of members and non-members who are doing good things for education.
We have an choice when accomplished educators are gathered together. We can smile and pat ourselves on the back for our good work, or we can use the spark of human interaction to create a transformative flame. I don’t know if this opportunity was seized at the event, but it’s up to us now. I want to invite every teacher present at Raise Your Hand: Empowered Educators’ Day to join the