As 2018 draws to a close, take a look back at the five most read Education Votes articles of the year.
Luke Michener and Terry Jess are both white, male educators who teach at Bellevue High School in Washington state. They feel they have little to add to conversations about race with students and colleagues of color that those students and colleagues don’t already know themselves, based upon their own experiences in the classroom, and, more broadly, living in the United States.
On the other hand, Terry and Luke feel they do have a lot to offer other white educators who are committed to racial equity in education, but may not know where to begin, how to plug in with existing efforts, nor how to best participate in sometimes difficult discussions about race in their own schools.
For Oklahoma teacher Carri Hicks, her decision to run for the Oklahoma state senate was cemented the day that she met with a state senator serving on the education committee in the spring of 2017.
He said she was lying when she told him there were 28 children in her 4th-grade classroom, a room built to accommodate just 18 students.
“It felt so defeating that I would take a personal day and leave the classroom to come and advocate for my students and then be met with such blatant disregard for the truth,” said Hicks.
Within weeks, she would announce her campaign.
3. Seven questions educators are asking about their rights to speak out, protest, and engage in activism
With the number of students and educators participating in actions growing each week, many educators have questions about their rights when they engage in activism and protest on social justice issues.
In a national call with NEA members earlier this year, attorneys with NEA’s Office of General Counsel addressed many of these issues, answering the questions we are hearing most often about legal and free speech protections for educators who participate in actions in support of gun safety, DACA, Black Lives Matter@School, and more.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Scott Wagner, an early favorite among the Republican candidates for governor, said that teachers are overpaid during a radio interview this week.
Wagner said, “People would be appalled if they knew what their teachers made, in certain areas.”
He then stated that teachers in his home district make an average salary of $88,000, which is incorrect. The most recent data shows the average teacher salary in his district is closer to $70,000.
It’s long been well established that there’s little if any separation between Michigan gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette and his benefactor, native Michigander Betsy DeVos, when it comes to diverting public funds to private and religious schools. So when Schuette, the state’s attorney general, announced last month that he would appeal a judicial ruling that invalidated two state laws that reimburse private schools for the cost of state health and safety requirements, it came as no surprise.
A Court of Claims judge last month struck as unconstitutional two budget laws, saying $5 million in spending violates a ban on aid to non-public schools. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the laws, which include the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of School Boards and Michigan Parents for Schools, sued the state in March 2017, arguing that the laws served as a “gateway” to school vouchers. The ruling invalidated state reimbursements to private schools for the cost of fire drills, inspections and other state requirements.