Monday, January 28, 2008

2008 State of Our Union

Teachers told union organizers: “My mom and dad are union members. That’s why they had enough money for me to go to college. But…what kind of professional joins a union?”
-from Tough Liberal, Albert Shanker and the Battles over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard D. Kahlenberg

The question above begs an answer and I have it. Whether it is job shadowing an educational assistant or team-teaching with an ELL teacher, I have had the opportunity to see that you are that kind of professional. Every time I spend a day with a member, attend a staff meeting, or read your emails I can answer that question.

The kind of professional who joins a union seeks meaningful advanced degrees and professional certifications. We learn from our colleagues. We believe in students. We engage in our community. We set professional standards for ourselves and meet them because we believe in ourselves. We work to get better at what we do. Never mind that these things may show up in the Teacher Code of Ethics or the Standards of Effective Teaching, these are job expectations we have for ourselves.

SPFT, Local 28 members exemplify that kind of professional every day. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to be the kind of union a professional would join. This year we will mark the 30th anniversary of the recognition of our educational assistant bargaining group and the 90th anniversary of our union affiliating with the American Federation of Teachers.

2008 looks to be the year of Local 28, so let's make sure we are the kind of union that a professional would join.

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