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Virginia Journal of Education

VEA News & Advocacy


VEA Campaign Promotes Public Education

Educators know that if a state has a top-notch system of public education, the entire community reaps the benefits.

We’d like to strengthen that message among the citizens of our Commonwealth. With that in mind, VEA kicked off a media campaign this fall, helped by significant grant support from NEA, to raise the positive profile of public schools and our Association. We’ve been airing 30-second radio advertisements in the Tidewater, Richmond and Roanoke areas. In the DC metro area, where costs are prohibitive for a large-scale radio buy, we’re doing print ads in Northern Virginia magazine. In all parts of the state, the campaign will be supported by online advertising on assorted websites.

You can see the print ads and listen to the radio spots on our newly-created site for the campaign, We’d be happy for you to help spread the word, especially if you’re a social media user.

This May Be the ‘SPARK’ You Need!

If you’re a teacher or an education support professional in the first five years of your career, you’re interested in learning more about your professional organization, and you like free stuff, VEA would like to invite you to come to the mountains.

Each year, members new to their education careers gather for the SPARKS retreat, held at the Wintergreen ski resort. There, you’ll have a chance to meet some of your peers and learn about the Virginia Education Association and the vital role our local Association plays in advocating for public school educators of Virginia. Our goal is to ensure a great public school for every child in the commonwealth, and a rewarding career for every teacher and ESP working with that child.

Best of all, it’s free! All you have to do is get yourself there. SPARKS will be held from February 28-March 2, and in addition to what you’ll learn, you also be able to ski or tube, all while developing your leadership and Association skills.

For details, visit

Ravitch Headlines VEA’s Instructional Conference

There’s still time to make your plans for VEA’s Instruction and Professional Development Conference, “Reforming School Reform,” to be held Friday and Saturday, November 22-23 in Richmond.

In addition to workshops on a wide range of instructional topics presented by your colleagues from around the state, this year’s conference also features a keynote speech from renowned education advocate Diane Ravitch and a panel discussion including NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

All registrants will receive a copy of Ravitch’s new book, Reign of Error.

For more information and to register, visit VEA’s website at But do it quickly—registration deadline is November 1.


The Right Man for the Job
By now, most of our members know that the VEA Fund for Children and Public Education has recommended Terry McAuliffe in this fall’s gubernatorial contest. If that doesn’t surprise you, this may: So have a number of longtime Republican officials, who have taken the unusual step of crossing party lines and going public as McAuliffe supporters. Among them are former Governor Linwood Holton and former Virginia House of Delegates members Vince Callahan, Panny Rhodes, Robert Bloxom and Preston Bryant.

In addition, McAuliffe has picked up endorsements from organizations as diverse as the Virginia Association of Realtors and the League of Conservation Voters. Norfolk’s newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot, the largest in the state, also announced its support for McAuliffe early in election season.

Seems like a lot of folks are thinking the same thing we’re thinking.

And they’re doing so with good reason. They, like us, are delighted to have a candidate who so strongly supports public education and educators. When’s the last time a candidate for governor has traveled the state and consistently proclaimed, “I never view education as an expense. To me, it’s an investment?”

McAuliffe gets it. He knows that if we’re going to have the best educators we can get for our young people, we’re going to have to pay them better. He knows that funding Virginia’s Standards of Quality at below 2009 levels is wrong, and he’s pledged to do something about it. He knows that our system of Standards of Learning testing needs a major overhaul. And he knows that failing to adequately fund the Virginia Retirement System is a great disservice to the dedicated professionals who’ve spent their careers helping to build the Commonwealth’s future.

Here’s what we know: Our children and our educators deserve a governor who has their back, a governor who understands how vitally important public education is to Virginia. We deserve a governor who will make our schools a top priority, not just in word, but in deed, too.

So it’s with my deepest conviction that I urge you to do a couple things this Election Day: Get out to the polls and exercise your right to vote and, when you do, cast your ballot for Terry McAuliffe for governor!

It’s a vote for Virginia’s future.

VEA’s Fund for Children and Public Education has also made recommendations in the other two statewide races, supporting Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General. Both of them, currently serving as state senators, had 100 percent voting records on VEA issues in the last General Assembly and would be excellent advocates in their new positions. Herring’s opponent, Mark Obenshain, is especially worrisome as he has been a longtime supporter of doing away with continuing contract rights for teachers.

In addition, the VEA Fund has made recommendations in most of the races for seats in the House of Delegates. To see who your Association supports in your local Delegate race, visit


VEA to Hold Statewide Elections

VEA will hold elections in 2014, with voting to take place at next spring’s Delegate Assembly, for the following statewide offices: President, Vice President, NEA Board of Directors (one seat), Education Support Professional Member-at-Large of the VEA Board of Directors, and VEA-Retired Member of the VEA Board (two seats).
All positions are for two-year terms beginning next August or September, with the exception of the NEA Board seat, which has a three-year term.

Interested candidates must file a petition by January 10, 2014. Petitions are available by writing to VEA at 116 South Third St., Richmond, VA 23219, or by email to

At the Old Ballgame

Richmond’s minor league baseball team, the Flying Squirrels, helped VEA celebrate our 150th anniversary at a game held on Labor Day. Here, VEA President Meg Gruber and Vice President Dominic Melito take the field, sporting their Squirrels uniform shirts, to prepare for Melito throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. As he did that, the electronic scoreboard displayed the VEA anniversary logo and the public address announcer spoke of the Association’s contributions to public education in our state.

Unfortunately, the Squirrels went down 1-0 to the Altoona Curve. 


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