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Welcome to the Anchorage Education Association
Five Days of Action
ATTENTION ALL AEA MEMBERS, "FIVE DAYS OF ACTION STARTS" Tuesday, February 18. Look below for what's happening and how you can get involved.
Feb 18th: TELL IT TUESDAY
Take an opportunity on FB, Twitter, Instagram, face-to-face and tell someone, everyone why you teach!!
Feb 19th WRITE IT WEDNESDAY:
Get a post card from one of your building reps, address it to your legislator and tell them to support public education. You can use the talking points (bldg. reps have these) or feel free to write them about what you're most passionate about, whatever you decide to write, NO CANNED messages, make it personal. If you need to know who your reps are or what their addresses are go to http://AEAPACE.net
Feb 19th CANDIDATE FORUM
at the Downtown Museum, Doors open at 6:00pm. Come down and hear what Candidates have to say and while your at it, fill out postcard too.
Feb 20th: PURPLE THURSDAY:
Wear your purple on Thursday and every Thursday to show your support of AEA and public education.
Feb 21st: FRIENDS OF EDUCATION FRIDAY:
Get business sized thank you card and window cling from your building rep, go to your schools website and see who the business partners are, then Friday evening head to one of the locations and thank them for being a business partner! Note: on the window cling, ask permission before you put it up.
Feb 22: MARCH IT SATURDAY:
Join us at the Captain Cook at 9:30 am and we will head out to the parade route for FurRondy. We will be handing out AEA pens and Kids not Cuts buttons to parade watchers. We NEED volunteers for this, please e-mail email@example.com if you are interested.
No matter whether you participate in all 5 days or just one, remember, WHAT YOU DO MATTERS!!!!
TONIGHT is AEA's Annual Candidate Forum. The candidates come to us to answer questions on education policy!
It's a pleasant evening at the Museum auditorium. Doors open at 6 and the formal panel starts at 6:30.
When it's over, mix and mingle with Anchorage's smartest educators and our candidate guests to tasty snacks and a no-host bar in the atrium.
When you get to know our policy makers, a lot of what you see makes a lot more sense!
Please plan to be there. We have a couple of nifty door prizes to top it all off.
To All AEA Members
When principals were told last Thursday afternoon to prepare a schedule for next year that had students taking 7 classes, with classroom educators teaching 6, it sent a shockwave through our membership. This caught us at AEA by surprise as well. Way back on December 23rd (which was really just 7 ASD days earlier), I had been told secondary schools might implement a schedule like that in the next year or so. We were not apprised of what was coming Thursday, and still have no written details of what the parameters of the schedule might be. We are working very hard to focus attention on the legislature to provide the resources to ASD to do education right, and we’re disappointed that they are not partnering with us in a critical moment as they make decisions for the coming year.
However, we’re at the beginning of a multi-front battle that will play out over the next 4 months, and we need to be on the same page. Our top priority is adequate funding, as that solves the most problems, and has the greatest positive impact on students. As it stands, funding is shrinking the opportunities and resources (educators being the most important one) available to students. The District has to accept the number offered by the Governor in building a budget they have to bring forward, by law, later this month. That seems to have led many people to believe that flat funding is a done deal, and I’ll admit it will be a big lift to overcome key legislators and the Governor. I do see more and more members of the community coming to action to reverse the damage they’ve watched happen so far. That’s one battle, and it’s the key one.
Looking at different schedules is a natural part of trying to find the best possible delivery of services, whether funding is shrinking, static or rising. I regret that ASD seems to have jumped to a conclusion about what they must do in the fall without having a broader discussion with staff (not just administrative staff) or their own Board (as far as I can tell).
This absolutely will cause a discussion about the best way forward, given our circumstances. While decisions about scheduling are management decisions normally well within the range of ASD administration, this one has a huge impact on students, staff, and the quality of what we do. I see no reason to simply accept it as a given, even if it is delivered that way.
I’m asking members at the secondary level to join with your building administrators and build the best schedule possible within the parameters you’ve been given. I’d ask that you also look at the best schedule possible, given your projected resources, that are outside the parameters you’ve been given. We’ll be using both of those as hard data in comparison to the schedules we run currently when we talk to parents, to legislators, to students, to the ASD administration, and to the ASD Board.
The realities are very harsh, I’m afraid so I know I’m not asking you to engage in a pleasant task.
Lost in the blowback to news about the schedule is that about 80 of the possible classroom reductions are in the elementary level. We have 60-some elementary schools, so you can do some math with that. The loss of a single classroom teacher in any elementary school roils their schedule as well.
Members of the public are waking up to the severity of the changes. We need clear factual data to take to them to make the case. Despite the marvelous PR job being done by certain folks, Alaska still has money and they still have choices. One of their choices over the past 4 years has been to sideline education. As the legislature convenes in an election year, we are not powerless in this fight, but it will be a fight. Anyone that wants to tell you that we’ve been through all of this before either doesn’t know where they’ve been, or where they’re at. We are in a different reality than ever, in both good ways and bad ways.
We work in a district that continues to do a very good job educating students. Increasingly, your time and your classroom is being interrupted by outside interests. You’ll be evaluated differently next year, there are different standardized tests coming. Your technology is being co-opted from instructional uses for assessment. Legislators want to mess with your health coverage and restrict your advocacy. Through it all, you’ve continued to do what you came here to do; close the door and engage your students to move from where they are to somewhere better, every day.
You have to keep doing that, and you have to give some time to these other things too. It shouldn’t be that way, but it just is.
AEA will continue to protect your contract and try to protect your time. We will try to rally public support behind you and help put the focus back on what happens in the classroom. We’ll work to provide each of you with the best educational platform we can get, whether someone tells you the future is a done deal or not.
Anchorage Education Association
2014 Student Scholarships
Daniel Epps Memorial - $2,500 (Application)
(for eligible ASD students pursuing the field of music)
Selma Weise Scholarship - $2,500 (Application)
(for eligible ASD students pursuing the field of education)
Pearl Shockley Scholarship - $2,500 (Application)
(for eligible ASD students pursuing the field of communications)
Information and application forms will be sent to High School Career Centers during the first week of January. Please see your Counseling Center for more information. You may also contact the AEA office at 263-8538 for more information.
Deadline for these applications is
Friday February 28, 2014 5:00 P.M.
Take Action On Saturday!
Anchorage Legislators will be at the Loussac on Saturday, Jan 11 at 9 AM to hear from the public before heading to Juneau. We want, your neighbors, your friends, and everyone in Anchorage that supports education to be there to let them know that the BSA needs a BOOST!
The rough estimate right now is that around 140 to 150 classroom teachers positions will have been cut when school starts next fall. Another 80 non-classroom spots will also be gone. The dramatic staff reductions are what is driving the plan to increase the number of classes that students take, in an effort to keep class sizes down. But you know the actual workload on teachers will soar. See notes on the budget discussion from Rep Council at this link.
This is not like layoffs or budget threats of the past. The legislature has kept funding flat for 4 years and will do it again unless there is a loud, sustained protest. Face-to-face in large numbers is the best way to do that, and you won't get many chances.
Go to https://www.facebook.com/events/184682315063871/ and "Join" to say you're coming, then use the "Invite your friends" to let your friends know!
And LIKE the AEA page while you're there!
Then be there Saturday. Come early for coffee and doughnuts with some of the best teachers in the country!!
Mayor Sullivan vetoed an action by the Assembly that would have reduced the charge to ASD for the SRO program by $750,000, or about 8 teachers. We need educators and other community members to let Assembly members know what you think.
Please watch your home email for a message, or go to http://AEAPACE.net for details on the issue and how to contact your Assembly members.
In the coming month, AEA members will be presented with a choice of plans, from which one will be chosen for our coverage. We are still preparing information to post for members that helps present the choices clearly. In the meantime, we'd like to start with a copy of the PowerPoint that is being used to line out the details of staying with our current Plan A vs. moving to Plan B.
With continued work, the AEA Bargaining Team recently reached a Tentative Agreement with the ASD Team. The AEA Board of Directors met Tuesday night with the AEA Bargaining Team and reviewed the proposed changes to our contract. They voted to support the agreement and move it to the membership for a vote.
Per our by-laws, I am providing a complete copy of the agreement to you for your review. It starts as a copy of our previous contract. Any item that has been changed or deleted shows as a strike-through. Any language that has been added is underlined. This allows for easy comparison to see what has been changed.
You can see this copy at this link.
In addition, there is an executive summary of the significant changes that can be viewed at this link.
Over the coming week I urge you to review the contract carefully and evaluate how it impacts you personally and professionally. You are invited to email me with questions or comments which I will share with the Bargaining Team and respond to as needed.
On Thursday, August 22 we will hold an All Member Meeting at the Dena'ina Center at 4:30 PM. The Bargaining Team and the Board of Directors will be there to answer questions and discuss the contract with you.
On August 26th we will open electronic balloting for members (you will need your NEA Member number to vote - watch for your card in the mail this week!) as well as allowing paper balloting at the NEA-Ak/AEA office on Spenard Road. Balloting will close at 5 PM on the evening of August 28th.
I know members have been anxious about starting the year with continued bargaining. We believe this contract makes significant gains for members while it helps the ASD operate more efficiently and effectively in carrying out its mission. It protects the income and status of ASD educators even as the District faces budgeting challenges and continued cuts in staffing. I want to thank the AEA Bargaining Team, the ASD Bargaining Team, and the ASD leadership for continuing to work through tough issues to find solutions that acknowledge the concerns of both management and the professional staff of the ASD. I think this agreement can be a springboard to the beginning of a positive and successful academic year.
On behalf of the Bargaining Team and the AEA Board of Directors......
Anchorage Education Association