Thank you for your energy and commitment
By Anita Gibson, AEA President
My first priority this week is simply to say THANK YOU! Thank you for your energy and commitment to the children who have been entrusted into your care. Thank you for going the extra mile, for digging into your own pockets when needed to ensure their success, even to the point of providing warm clothes, shoes, and yes, even food. Thank you for rising early and staying late day in and day out. Thank you for believing in the future of our children.
The Alabama Education Association is your professional association and we value your membership and your participation as we work to ensure that every child has a quality education experience in our public schools. If you remember nothing else from what you read in this column this week, please remember this: the Alabama Education Association is not a building at 422 Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama or the staff in the building in Montgomery. It is not the local UniServ Director. It is not Dr. Mabry, Dr. Graves or me as your state president.
YOU are the Alabama Education Association and you should never forget that.
You are a member of the most successful professional association in the state of Alabama. You should be proud of your affiliation with this prestigious group of dedicated professionals. The Alabama Education Association continues to be the only group in this state that serves as a guard dog fighting against legislation that threatens the destruction of our community schools. As a member of AEA you have many rights and benefits that have been won through hard fought battles in the State House over a number of years.
When you hear derogatory remarks made about AEA, do not let it go by. They are talking about you, because without you there would be no AEA.
I am confident that you are no stranger to the fact that things are not so cozy between many of our current legislators and AEA. But do you understand why? Do you know why we, as AEA members, have such a huge target on our backs?
It is because those who seek to destroy this noble association understand and embrace the important roles that we have played in protecting and shaping the future of public education in Alabama and their goal is to ultimately destroy our public schools.
Ladies and gentlemen, as long as our enemies value our worth more than we do, we will continue to bear this huge target, and our children will continue to suffer as we see deeper cuts to public education.
As a member of the Alabama Education Association we have many rights, but with these rights also comes responsibilities. We have a professional responsibility to know the names of those who represent us in the Legislature; to know their voting record on issues that impact the children of our district.
We have a professional responsibility to inform the parents and community members in our district of the full impact that the continued cuts to public education will have on their children and their school. We have a professional responsibility to step outside our comfort zones, find our voice and passion, and speak up for the rights of the children we serve every day.
Each and every one of us has a professional responsibility to keep up with what is happening each day the legislature is in session. Now, more than ever before, we must all be involved in contacting our elected leaders to let them know we are monitoring their actions. After all, they were elected to be the voice for the people in their districts, not a puppet blindly voting as they are told even when it goes against the will of those they represent.
If your skill lies in writing letters to the editor, like my dear friend Scott Lacey in Mobile, then write letters. If you prefer, call or text; speak to them when they come home on the weekends, or visit their local offices and leave a note for them, anything! Don’t just sit back and wait for someone else to do it.
It is your professional responsibility!
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