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Welcome Back! Let's Get Organized!


Welcome Back! Let’s Get Organized!

Welcome to a new school year, another year of doing the incredibly important work of public education! Every day, you’re not only creating the future, you’re ensuring that it’s a better one. Never doubt that you make a difference.

As you embark on the 2018-19 school journey, I’d like to ask you to reflect on a vital part of both your success and our schools’ progress—Association membership.

You are part of an organization that proudly serves as our state’s largest, most effective public education advocate, and has done so for more than 150 years. The VEA is the only organization with an open invitation to the governor’s office, the only organization with members standing up and stepping out in every school division in the state, and the only organization that’s there, every time, when decisions are made in the halls of power that affect our schools, educators, and students.

I shudder to think what public education in our state might look like without the commitment consistently demonstrated by you and all your member colleagues over the years.

In the last several months alone, the efforts of VEA members were absolutely critical in getting a 3 percent raise for teachers into the state budget. That’s just a first step toward another initiative VEA made happen, a resolution passed unanimously by the General Assembly making it an official goal of the Commonwealth to reach or exceed the national average salary for teachers.

In addition, VEA efforts were a huge part of the reason that Medicaid expansion is finally happening in Virginia. That’s a win-win: Not only are thousands more Virginians getting better access to healthcare, but millions of dollars in state money were freed up for public schools.

Those are just two examples of what happens when VEA members work together to affect the future, just like you do every day in school. Thank you for your part in building the power of our Association and using it to make positive, lasting change.

As always, there is more to be done. The year ahead is extremely important as we look to the elections of 2019, in which every seat in the General Assembly will be contested. What happens in Richmond has a direct and immediate impact on our professional lives, and next year we have the opportunity to put a solid pro-education majority in place, one that will work even more closely with us to strengthen our public schools and the working conditions of those employed there.

We, as Association members organized and pulling together, can accomplish things that no other organization or individuals can. We make things happen. We build support. We beat public education’s drum, keeping the needs of our students at the forefront of public debate, where they belong.

Talk with your colleagues who are not yet Association members. Every new member makes us stronger and more able to forge ahead. No one should be on the sidelines in these times.

Again, thank you for what you’ve already done, and for what you do every day. We need you.

 

Jim Livingston

President

Virginia Education Association


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