By: Leigh Hawkinson, AEA President

West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Oakland…these are but a few of the movements taking place around the country and our state among our colleagues who have grown weary of large class sizes, inadequate facilities, budget cuts, and outdated material. These are not political movements.  These are fights for our students and our profession! Wearing a #RedForED button or t-shirt is showing a bond of solidarity with all educators throughout the country. It is a statement that our students deserve better and so do we.

At some point all educators must take a stand that whether it is a strike, a march, a button, a shirt or showing support for your local, state and national professional associations, we want what is best for our students.  Having well-paid, fully qualified educators is mandatory to sustaining our profession and the promise of quality education for all of our students.

Our solidarity has been seen in the November elections when hundreds of educators were elected to public office.  It has been seen here in California during the recent disasters when CTA members responded with immediate support to educators affected by the fires and floods. They assisted educators in temporarily housing students when schools burned down and members lost their homes. CTA’s Disaster Relief Fund gave immediate support to our members and continues to do so.

All of these things have shown the power of educators, the power of our voice and our associations. #RedForEd has shown that we are not going sit on the sidelines and be at the mercy of politicians. It says that we are unified in our collective voice and desire to give our students the best education possible.

It is time for all of us to stand up for our students and for public education.  It is time to stand for our profession in solidarity.  It is time not to be a spectator in your professional associations, but instead to be a participant and voice for change.