From granting collective bargaining rights to deciding how much money is spent for students, public education is an inherently political profession, but educators are often missing from policy discussions and decisions.
Research has shown this lack of respect for educators’ expertise and professionalism is a big factor driving the educator shortage. Our next generation of leaders refuses to let that continue.
MEA’s Aspiring Educators (AEM) and MiNE (Michigan New Educators) groups are taking an active role in influencing policymakers. Both groups supported the Respecting Educators package of bills introduced by House Democrats in June. Read more at mea.org/respecting-educators-bills.
AEM focuses on four pillars of success: educator quality, community outreach, social justice, and political action. Ferris State students stood with professors in a 2018 strike. Last year AEM held a Town Hall Chat with Lt. Governor Gilchrist and ran a Get Out the Vote campaign. Michigan State students used political pressure to push for changes to their fifth-year internship. Read more at mea.org/aspiring-educators-build-empowering-movement.
AEM has an at-large position on its Board of Directors focused on political action. This year Abriana White from Wayne State University will serve in this position to engage AEM members in understanding the importance of political action and participating in the political process.
MiNE is helping to educate early career educators with their October podcast, “Weathering the Political Storm,” a primer on lobbying, candidate endorsements, and ways to get involved. Search for “Michigan new educators” to hear that episode and others wherever you get podcasts.
Aspiring Educators and MiNE have seen the impact of bad policy decisions and discovered the power of the collective voice—and they will carry those lessons with them throughout their professional careers and future union work.