Every year at this time, each of us looks to the year ahead with enthusiasm and anticipation of our professional successes. As educators, we have positive expectations for ourselves and the students we serve. That’s what it means to be an education professional!
This past year, you, our members, worked very hard to fight for the rights of teachers. Your work resulted in several positive actions. CTA’s efforts to encourage voting proved to be “Highly Effective”! We gained three Senate seats and some House seats as well, and at the national level we secured two new seats that support public education. This past election season, one of our new House Legislators told me, “If you want to win a legislative position, you have to have the teachers’ vote!” By supporting legislators from both parties, we conquered “The Parent Empowerment Bill.” We fought back a proposed bill that attacked our retirement security (FRS) and we saw the Governor include a special teacher salary increase in the budget. This year FEA was able to win a federal law suit against SB736. They argued teachers’ rights were being violated through the evaluation process. Sixty-five percent of Florida teachers are being evaluated based on one high stakes test score from students they never even had in their classroom. The court agreed!
You as members, make all the difference! As a “Right to Work State,” your continued support and membership, together with the other locals in Florida, have made us a force to be reckoned with! Membership and activism is crucial. Your membership dues have a large impact on our profession. It supports CTA Committee activities, political action to elect pro-public education legislators, funding for legal services, programs and services provided to us by our affiliates, lobbying in Tallahassee and professional development training, to name a few. We welcome you to be a part of some of these activities and encourage you to engage others to help as well.
Over the past two years I have received so much support from each of you. I want to thank you for the opportunity that allows me to continue to build upon the positive image of CTA. We are moving forward and I encourage you to get involved as there is still so much work to be done.
Debra Wilhelm, President