by Brian Washington
Take Action ›
Hold politicians accountable in 2018. Sign the Election Pledge! Click here ›
Susanna Mitchell, an ELL (English language learners) teacher, knows it’s an exciting time to be an educator.
“Things are happening, and things are changing,” said Mitchell, who cited educators taking action and standing up for students in places like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, North Carolina and her home state of Colorado. “It’s about making sure our kids get the full funding they deserve. We’re fighting to make sure they have things like adequate preschool and kindergarten and classrooms that are fully resourced and safe.”
Educators also plan to take action at the ballot box this November during the mid-term elections, when congressional, gubernatorial, and state legislative seats in several key states will be up for grabs. Mitchell says now is the time for educators to get involved and let their voices be heard—working on the campaigns of those who will stand up for kids.
“We are going to have to be heard,” said Mitchell. “We must let people know that we are about our kids and this is what matters.”
All across the country, educators expect to door knock, make phone calls, and talk to their family, friends, and neighbors about those candidates at every level of government with a pro-public schools agenda.
In states like Colorado, which recently wrapped up its caucuses and state assemblies and is looking at a state primary next month, the work has already begun. Mitchell feels empowered to see the impact educators’ voices can have.
“All the meetings, emails, and calls that were made are paying off,” said Mitchell. “It’s like wow…this really works when you get involvement from educators. It’s exciting to see all the hard work coming together.”
Meanwhile, many educators are going a step further and deciding to run for office themselves, as pointed out in a recent TIME magazine piece that features Carrie Pugh, political director for the National Education Association (NEA), which represents about 3 million educators nationwide.
In 2015, the NEA started building a campaign training program for educators, gearing it toward prospective candidates for school boards and city councils,” reads the article. “But they’re now adapting the curriculum because teachers have shown a much greater interest in state legislative seats. Pugh said she has received applications from about 150 teachers in nearly 30 states — mostly Democrats, but some Republicans too — who want to attend the NEA’s first large candidate training this month.
“Right now is the time for educators to get involved,” said Mitchell. “We (educators) have a perspective; every single person has a story that’s so important. A story about why they got into education and how much they care about kids.”
“Our voices have to be heard and if we want to protect our kids, public education, and the education profession, we have to get involved. Now is the time.”