The following was submitted by Mike Wetzel, public relations director for the Colorado Education Association.
The Colorado Education Association has no problems and much praise for the title of Tim Farmer’s editorial, “Professional associations are the future of teaching.” Nearly 40,000 education professionals have voluntarily chosen to join CEA because they believe membership in this organization advances the teaching profession in Colorado. That phrase would’ve made a great CEA bumper sticker, had we thought of it first.
After the title, though, Mr. Farmer launches into a false argument that an organization with a union component – one that advances the teaching profession by advocating for fair salaries, decent working conditions and legal protections – cannot also have a robust, even larger, professional component.
Our recent work on the state council to define educator effectiveness for a new statewide evaluation system, in accordance with Senate Bill 191, is a great example of CEA’s professional achievements. CEA had three members on the State Council for Educator Effectiveness who pushed for statewide accountability measures.
At the legislature, no organization is more vocal in advocating for adequate, sustainable funding for our schools, and more effective in rallying for laws that promote student achievement. CEA has helped pass:
- Colorado Achievement Program for Kids (SB 212 in 2008), landmark legislation that overhauled academic content standards for classroom instruction and updates our statewide student assessments;
- The Education Accountability Act (SB 163 in 2009), a law that holds the state, districts, and individual public schools accountable for performance on a single statewide set of indicators;
- The Educator Identifier System, a sophisticated data system linking student achievement information to individual teachers to demonstrate the characteristics of teacher preparation and effective instruction;
- Colorado Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Initiative, the biannual survey CEA helped create to improve individual school performance and promote a culture of collaboration between educators and administrators.
Additionally, CEA’s local associations routinely give members the opportunity for high-quality professional development. Most of these programs are designed and led by our members to improve instructional practices that improve student results.
We assure Mr. Farmer and all others who get distracted by our union heritage that the Colorado Education Association is a professional association dedicated to raising the teaching profession and the students we serve to ever-increasing heights.
(Disclosure: CEA is a sponsor of Education News Colorado)
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