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VEA Milestones


A Call to Organize

In 1863, as Virginia and the nation were locked in the midst of Civil War, a small group of Virginia educators concerned with the education of future sons and daughters of Virginia called for a conference in Petersburg on December 29th of that year. Their aims, as expressed in their “Call to Organize” were foremost practical; they wanted access to school books and a means to share information, such as a written journal. To realize their aims, the organizers wrote, “It may be deemed expedient to organize a permanent State Educational Association.”

The organization they founded became, after several name changes, the Virginia Education Association.

What follows is a summary of selected milestones in the Association’s history.

1863
The founding convention of the Educational Association of Virginia is held at Petersburg.

1866
The first regular convention of the Association is held in Charlottesville.

1867
The Association calls for the creation of a State Department of Education and organized teacher institutes.

1869
The Association creates The Educational Journal of Virginia, which published until 1892.

1870
Public schools are established by General Assembly, with Dr. William H. Ruffner as first State Superintendent of Schools.

1874
 “Lady teachers” are permitted to become associate members without payment of dues, no vote, no office, no participation in public discussions, but allowed to serve on committees.

1880
First teacher institutes were held—one each summer for white teachers and one for black teachers. Later, multiple institutes are held across the state.

1882
First normal schools established for teacher training—for whites, Farmville State Teachers Colleges; for blacks, the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute in Petersburg.

1882
Last meeting of the Educational Association of Virginia is held in Charlottesville.

1884
A new statewide organization, the First Virginia Teachers Reading Association, is formed at the Normal Institute held at Wytheville.

1890
The Virginia Teachers Reading Circle becomes the Virginia State Negro Teachers Association (VSNTA).

1890
Organizational meeting of the Virginia State Teachers Association is held at the YMCA in Lynchburg.

1891
Organizational meeting of the State Educational Association is held in Bedford.

1892
Last issue of The Educational Journal of Virginia is published.

1893
The Virginia School Journal, the official organ of the State Department of Education, begins publication.

1897
Effort is made to establish a “pay day” for teachers in every school district.

1898
The Virginia Teachers Cooperative League is formed. This is the continuing organization that becomes the Virginia Education Association.

1902
The name becomes the Virginia State Teachers Association.

1903
The Association has 67 local associations, with reported membership of 2,490.

1905
Association establishes a Legislative Committee that continues to function today. It is responsible for passage of compulsory education law, removing limitation on local taxes, establishing county unit system of schools, creating a teachers' retirement system, winning continuing contracts, sick leave, and more.

1905
State Supt. J. D. Eggleston calls a general conference in Richmond to include the Virginia State Teachers Association, the Trustees (school boards), the Superintendents, and the Cooperative Education Association (forerunner of the PTA)…the beginning of the annual Virginia Educational Conferences.

1906
Teacher pension plan is established.

1906
The School Improvement League is created to lobby for greater resources for black schools.

1907
Virginia Journal of Education publishes first edition.

1910
U.S. President William Howard Taft addresses VEA convention in Richmond.

1912
William Jennings Bryan addresses VEA convention in Lynchburg.

1913
First Code of Ethics is adopted.

1918
Influenza outbreak causes convention to be cancelled.

1919
VEA obtains ownership of the Virginia Journal of Education, transferring it from the State Department of Education.

1921
VEA employs first full-time Executive Secretary; Dr. William T. Sanger assumes duties September 1.

1923
Virginia Teachers Association convention authorizes the publication of the Teachers Bulletin.

1925
The current name, the Virginia Education Association, is adopted.
Note: The new VEA embraced and included in its structure several formerly independent statewide organizations, including the superintendents, school boards, and the Cooperative Education Association, later the Virginia Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the Student Cooperative Association. The Virginia School Boards Association remained a VEA Department until 1957. The Virginia Association of School Administrators name was adopted by the superintendents in 1958, but they remained connected to VEA until 1973.

1926
Cornelia Adair becomes first Virginian to be elected as president of NEA.

1926
VSNTA affiliates with the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, later known as the American Teachers Association.

1927
The VSNTA drops Negro from name, becoming the Virginia State Teachers Association (VSTA). During the 1940s the word State was dropped from the name, creating the Virginia Teachers Association as the name that continues until merger in 1967.

1929
VEA and UVA establish the Preventorium (hospital at reduced cost) for teachers.

1935
VEA becomes incorporated.

1939
NAACP files suit in the name of Aline Black, a teacher in the Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, seeking equal pay for black teachers.

1939
Dr. Francis S. Chase becomes VEA Executive Secretary on Aug. 16, 1939, following death of Dr. Heatwole.

1940
U.S. Supreme Court orders that salaries of white and black teachers of equal training and qualifications be equalized.

1942
VEA’s proposed retirement law is adopted by General Assembly.

1944
VTA hires first full-time executive secretary, J. Rupert Picott, who serves until merger in 1967.

1945
Henry G. Ellis is appointed VEA Executive Secretary-Editor, upon resignation of Dr. Chase.

1946
Dr. Robert Williams becomes Executive Secretary-Editor, upon resignation of Mr. Ellis.

1948
General Assembly adopts a statewide sick leave plan for teachers.

1950
General Assembly takes first step to create a statewide salary schedule for teachers.

1950-1965
Separate delegations representing white and black teachers attend NEA conventions. During this period, NEA rules require the separate delegates to meet, sit, and vote together.

1951
VEA moves into current headquarters building at 116 South 3rd Street in Richmond.

1954
Supreme Court declares racial segregation of schools unconstitutional.

1957
Sixty-three black teachers are fired by the Prince Edward schools to evade compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to integrate schools. NEA and VTA work together to find them jobs and to provide food and financial support for the children turned away from public schools.

1958
VEA holds first instructional conference (Science in the Secondary Schools).

1958
Tort (liability) insurance is first provided with VEA membership.

1962
VEA locals are authorized to admit members without regard to race.

1962
The VTA proposes the formation of one major professional association of all teachers in Virginia.

1963
VEA requires members to have a bachelor’s degree. Non-degree educators may hold Associate membership.

1964
VEA amends constitution providing that all members of local affiliates, regardless of race, are eligible for membership.

1966
VEA and VTA form a joint committee to consider merger.

1966
The VEA and the VTA, which represented black teachers, merge.

1967
VEA hires first black professional staff member—Fitz Turner, principal of James Solomon Russell High School in Lawrenceville, and VTA president at the time of unification.

1967
VEA names first consultant-in-residence, Dr. Ethel Thompson, to focus on assisting school divisions in implementing kindergarten programs.

1968
Delegates vote to require all local Associations to merge black and white locals by September 1969; 13 localities had separate locals at that time.

1968
VEA opens four regional offices—Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk, Reston—to provide field service support to locals and members.

1968
General Assembly adopts Continuing Contract law, which establishes uniform employment practices, delineating causes for teacher dismissal, and providing security for teachers after a three-year probationary period. It provided for a three-year probationary period for all existing teachers as well as those hired after its enactment. The first “tenured” teachers entered their fourth year of employment in school year 1973.

1968
VEA delegates call for passage of legislation to enact a Professional Negotiations Law.

1969
Five black educators elected to serve on the VEA Board of Directors, part of the merger agreement.

1969
VEA conducts first professional negotiations workshops, appoints a Professional Negotiations Committee.

1969
VEA doubles tort (liability) insurance to $100,000.

1970
Delegates vote to close the VEA Preventorium by end of February 1970.

1970
Barbara B. Tinsley, a science teacher from Richmond, is first black educator to run for VEA president.

1970
VEA celebrates 100th anniversary of public schools with a billboard public service campaign.

1970
VEA achieves increase in retirement multiplier from 1 3/8th % to 1 ½ %, and a Cost of Living increase. Also life insurance was expanded from age 50 to age 65 at 100% of annual salary, and 50% after age 65.

1970
VEA wins injunction to prevent enforcement of Attorney General Andrew P. Miller’s ruling that a new conflict of interest law would prevent employment in the same school division of husbands and wives.

1970
VEA Delegates at the NEA RA elect first black, Thomas J. Womack, to represent VEA on NEA Board of Directors, as a result of NEA’s ruling that a merged state is entitled to a black director.

1970
Board creates the VEA Defense Fund to meet costs of representing Professional Rights and Responsibility cases.

1971
Arlington EA becomes the first to require unified dues, providing that members must join the local, state and national associations.

1971
Fairfax ratifies its first two-year agreement.

1971
Don Rapier becomes first full-time VEA president.

1971
First meeting of educators to create the VEA Political Action Committee for Education is held in March.

1972
VEA creates membership category for teacher aides and school secretaries.

1972
Chesterfield teacher Mrs. Susan Cohen wins a court ruling that she could not be forced to resign her position because of her pregnancy. Decision was later overruled by US District Court in Richmond, but was eventually upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1972
VEA members, in a statewide vote, defeat a proposal to require unified membership.

1973
Dr. Robert F. Williams retires as VEA Executive Secretary;  David L. Johnson is employed as VEA Executive Secretary on July 1.

1973
VEA-PAC issues first endorsement of a candidate for Governor, Henry E. Howell Jr.

1973
VEA members, in a statewide referendum, approve unification with NEA, requiring that members belong to local, state, and national associations.

1973
Virginia Association of School Administrators severs ties with VEA.

1974
Mary Hatwood, Alexandria high school teacher, becomes the first black president-elect of VEA. Her term begins in 1976.

1974
VEA Delegate Assembly creates the UniServ program, providing professional staff located throughout the state to assist local Associations and members.

1974
VEA wins legislation that requires greater funding for the retirement system to put it on a sound funding basis.

1974
VEA wins increase in retirement benefits and a cost-of-living increase.

1974
VEA joins the Virginia Coalition of Public Employees to support passage of collective bargaining legislation.

1975
Association wins a statewide class action suit providing for back pay for teachers forced to leave their jobs because they were pregnant.

1975
VEA doubles coverage of liability insurance from $100,000 to $200,000.

1976
VEA Minority Concerns Caucus holds first Human Rights Awards Dinner and creates the Fitz Turner Award.

1976
VEA wins passage of a law to allow a tenured teacher who changes school districts to serve only a one-year probationary period until achieving tenured status in the new district.

1977
Virginia Supreme Court halts negotiations for public employees, ruling that school districts do not have authority to negotiate with Associations representing school employees.

1977
More than 7,000 teachers and public employees rally in Richmond on February 4, opposing proposed cuts in education funding, protecting retirement, and supporting passage of a statewide collective bargaining law.

1977
VEA wins automatic cost-of-living raises for retirees—providing for up to 3%, plus one-half of the increase between three and seven percent, for an effective maximum increase of 5%.

1977
VEA Delegate Assembly creates the Fitz Turner Commission for Human Relations.

1978
Virginia Supreme Court rules that arbitration in the grievance process cannot be dictated to school boards by the state board of education. School boards now argue that continuing contracts also are unconstitutional.

1978
VEA wins law that makes it clear that, unless they are notified in writing by April 15, teachers are employed for the following year.

1978
VEA wins an impartial panel to hear disputes arising from dismissal of tenured teachers to advise school boards on the case.

1979
Delegate Assembly approves special dues assessment to support public relations activities.

1979
Won law that requires school boards provide teachers with a duty-free lunch beginning in 1980-81.

1979
VEA successfully opposes “cap plan” that would have reduced retirement benefits.

1980
Delegate Assembly votes to bring the UniServ program under state administration, but delayed its implementation until 1981.

1980
Delegates vote to no longer provide bargaining assistance to members working in the private sector, in order to avoid requirements of the federal Landrum-Griffin Act that would have precluded minority representation guarantees. VEA represented 70 members at a single private college.

1980
Former VEA President Mary Hatwood-Futrell is elected secretary-treasurer of the NEA.

1980
School boards hone the practice of denying the grievability of teacher concerns, thus forcing them to go to court for a ruling on whether a grievance should be heard.

1981
VEA Delegate Assembly amends constitution to provide for membership for school support personnel in addition to teacher aides and secretaries who already were allowed membership.

1981
VEA raises liability insurance coverage to $1 million.

1981
Circuit Court judge rules that agreement by the Richmond School District to provide payroll deduction for Association dues is legal.

1982
VEA wins 20% increase in school funding with stipulation that the bulk of the new funds be used to increase teacher salaries, with the admonition that “each locality shall endeavor to increase classroom teacher salaries by 10 percent each year of the biennium.” (Only 49% of school divisions approved a 10% raise for 1982-83 and less than 17% provided a 9.7% raise in 1983-84.)

1982
Delegates extend terms for president and vice president from one to two years, allowing to serve two consecutive terms.

1982
VEA supports a suit by member Vernelle M. Lipscome seeking a judgment of libel against a reporter and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. In 1983, jury awards Lipscome $1,045,000 in damages. Award is later reduced to $145,000.

1983
Mary Hatwood Futrell is elected NEA president.

1985
VEA wins an 18.5% increase in state funding for schools.

1985
Brenda Cloyd is elected to her third term of office, making her the longest serving president in VEA history—from 1982-83 through 1986-87.

1985
Delegate Assembly and VEA-PAC board adopt changes to designate VEA President as chair of VEA-PAC, and VEA Vice President as vice-chair of VEA-PAC, to ensure that the two separate entities share similar goals.

1986
Outgoing Governor Robb recommends budget that increases state funds for schools by 20%, and that requires school divisions provide teachers with a 10% raise in 1986-87 school year or suffer loss of funds in the following school year. Some superintendents threaten to reduce teaching staff if they are forced to raise salaries.

1986
Delegate Assembly creates a standing committee for Education Support Personnel.

1986
Under leadership of Mary Hatwood Futrell, NEA votes to propose and support a national standards board for teacher certification.

1986
VEA wins passage of legislation allowing full retirement at age 55 (reduced from age 60) with 30 years experience.

1987
VEA successfully lobbies to reduce retirement age from 60 to 55 years.

1988
VEA seeks to change the state song from Carry Me Back to Old Virginny: “The current state song of Virginia does not accurately reflect the heritage of all Virginia citizens and should be changed.”

1988
Delegates again call for creation of a Professional Standards Board, “composed of a majority of practicing classroom teachers to establish standards of entry to the teaching professional and operating with the autonomy to make those standards meaningful.” Would replace Virginia’s Teacher Education Advisory Board, which was established in 1980. (Similar legislation proposed by VEA from 1970-1981.)

1989
$1 million renovation of historic headquarters building is completed.

1989
VEA calls for statewide and state-funded health insurance; legislation passes to allow school divisions to buy into state plan.

1989
VEA supports legislation to ban corporal punishment. Passes.

1991
VEA wins grievance procedure for school classified employees.

1991
VEA wins COLA increases for all retirees, beginning in the second year after retirement. Formerly was only for those over age 60.

1992
VEA wins passage of legislation allowing localities to decide whether to elect school boards.

1992
VEA-Retired elects its first representative on the VEA Board of Directors, Beth Nelson.

1994
VEA wins passage of an autonomous professional standards board on a 24-16 Senate and a 63-36 House vote, only to have it vetoed by newly elected Governor George Allen. VEA had been seeking passage of such legislation since 1967.

1994
VEA wins legislation that removes the VRS from direct control by the Governor.

1994
VEA wins legislation that gives teachers on continuing contracts preference over those on annual contracts if reduction in force is necessary—but bill is vetoed by Gov Allen.

1994
VEA Retired holds its first statewide conference.

1994
VEA defeats legislation that would have extended probationary period before a teacher receives a continuing contract from the current three to five years.

1995
VEA member Richard Wormeli of Fairfax becomes Virginia’s first teacher to achieve national certification from the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards.

1995
VEA wins state funding ($75,000) to assist Virginia teachers to achieve National Board Certification.

1995
VEA wins retiree health credits of $1.50 per month per year of services, up to a max of $45.

1995
VEA wins passage of legislation to place a constitutional amend on the ballot to create VRS as a Trust, to “ensure that the assets of the VRS remain separate from all other funds of the Commonwealth, that the fund be administered in the interests of the members and that benefits will be funded using methods consistent with sound actuarial principles.”

1996
Voters approve constitutional amendment to establish the VRS as a trust and that prevent raiding the retirement fund.

1996
Richmond teacher Cheri James becomes VEA’s second black president.

1998
VEA wins guarantees that charter school teachers will be licensed and will be employees of the local school board, also that school boards have the authority to approve charters.

1998
VEA wins legislation requiring that school boards provide contracts for educational support employees, but bill is vetoed by Governor Allen.

1999
VEA launches its first web site, http://www.veaweteach.org.

1999
VEA wins increase in the retiree health care credit from $1.50 to $2.50 per month per year of service and the monthly maximum from $45 to $75.

1999
VEA helps defeat a proposal to provide a $2,500 tax credit for children in private schools.

1999
VEA wins state-funded stipends for teachers who achieve National Board Certification ($5,000 for first year and $2,500 for subsequent years), pending annual state funding.

2000
VEA board votes to support creation of the Moton Civil Rights Museum in Farmville.

2000
VEA Executive Director David Johnson retires; is replaced by Jerry Caruthers.

2000
VEA wins mandate of one elementary school counselor for every 500 students.

2001
VEA launches Brighter Futures Campaign for improved school funding.

2001
VEA launches living wage campaigns to improve salaries of Education Support Personnel.

2003
VEA wins legislation that guarantees that teachers must be paid within the first month of employment.

2004
Princess Moss, a Louisa County music teacher, becomes VEA’s third black president.

2004
Three years of lobbying for improved school funding through the Brighter School Campaign results in a record $1.5 billion increase in state funding for schools.

2006
VEA member Philip Forgit, elementary teacher in Williamsburg, becomes the first Virginian to win the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.

2006
VEA wins legislation, sought by school bus drivers, to increase bus speed and improve safety on super highways.

2006
Jerry Caruthers resigns as VEA Executive Director to assume similar position in Oregon; Robert Whitehead becomes new Executive Director.

2006
VEA launches statewide radio ads and media tours to promote increasing teacher salaries.

2007
VEA launches new website, http://www.veanea.org, and initiates the electronic newsletter VEA e-source.

2007
VEA wins an increase in the retiree health care credit from $2.50 to $4 per month per year of service and removes the $75 monthly cap.

2007
The VEA delegation leads a memorial to the slain students at Virginia Tech during the annual NEA Representative Assembly in Washington, D.C.

2009
VEA launches a successful effort to prevent state funding cuts for schools through electronic media, special website, banner ads on news media websites and social media outlets, and billboards in Richmond.

2010
Philip Forgit is named VEA Executive Director, replacing Robert Whitehead.

2010
VEA locals successfully lobby nearly all school divisions to pay 5% of salary contribution to VRS for new employees, after legislature changes law requiring the contribution by new employees.

2010
Adding to its electronic communications strategy, VEA launches a social media page on Facebook, and assists local Associations in the creation of blogs.

2011
VEA defeats efforts by Governor McDonnell to require all school employees to pay 5% of their salary toward retirement and end the long-standing practice (since the 1980s) of the employer paying the 5% for the employees.

 


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