Standing up for education in 2017

Greetings,

There is a lot to reflect on as 2016 comes to a close - and a lot to prepare for in the new year.

With the Save Our Public Schools victory on Question 2, we discovered the power of our voices and the public's strong belief in public education, educators and the common good.

There is a lot to build from, but there is a hard truth in front of us. In the months ahead, we face a troubling and dangerous landscape for public education and labor (and immigrants' rights, and the climate, and health care, and women's rights, and much more).

The fear and uncertainty about the future come at a time when many of you are already oppressed by mandates, punitive evaluations, hyper-accountability, deprofessionalization, dehumanization and austerity budgets.

There is a lot to take on. It can feel like too much. It can seem that we should narrow our vision and work to survive each day. And it will appear to be too much. And some days we will just need to survive.

But we have to do more. We have an obligation to our students and the future to protect public education, our union and our communities.

How? Step one is to keep doing what we did to win the Save Our Public Schools campaign: have conversations with colleagues, parents, students and the community about public education and the public good. Engage in these conversations as educators and as union members.

Talk about what we want and need for our public schools. Talk about your work and then demand to be respected. Share your understanding of the corporate actors pushing testing, austerity, personalized (computer-based) dehumanized learning, privatization and union busting. Share your stories and your vision.

From these conversations, we will create our vision for the Schools Our Communities Deserve and then fight for that vision in the form of fully funding public education, ending the testing madness and winning back our dignity and autonomy.

The following are some dates and places to begin the work:

Regional Forums in January
At regional forums in January and at the All Presidents' Meeting on January 21, we will kick off conversations about how to harness our power to fight for the schools and colleges our students and communities deserve.

A National Day of Action on January 19
Through this day of action, we will signal our commitment to working with parents and students to stand up for fully funded, high-quality public education for every student. More details will be coming soon.

Enjoy the holidays. Hold friends and family close.

In solidarity,

Barbara