LOUISIANA EDUCATORS PLAY KEY ROLE IN STATE ELECTIONS
As 2019 comes to a close, members of the LAE (and the association’s political action committee, the LAE Fund for Children and Public Education) are celebrating the re-election of Governor John Bel Edwards. Dr. Tia Mills, LAE’s new president, called the outcome of Louisiana’s November 16 General Election a victory for the state’s public schools and the children they serve.
“Educators from every corner of our state made their voices heard by electing a leader who has a proven track record of supporting Louisiana’s public schools and students,” Mills said. “Throughout his first term in office, Governor Edwards showed school employees appreciation for their hard work. Because of this renewed sense of respect, educators from every walk of the profession are beginning to feel valued again, and that’s why so many LAE members worked incredibly hard to help ensure his victory.”
LAE members spent this election season informing citizens about Governor Edwards’ history of supporting public schools. Members encouraged their families, friends, and colleagues to vote, not just for governor, but also for pro-public education candidates up and down the ballot. Association members connected with voters in person, online, and over the phone to make sure they knew what was at stake for public education this election. Throughout the election season, LAE members:
• Completed over 20,000 phone calls to voters; • Knocked on more than 12,000 doors to have one-on-one conversations with voters;
• Sent over 16,600 text messages to supporters of public education;
• Helped coordinate and drive educator attendance to nine roundtable discussions with Governor Edwards;
• Participated in more than 40 parades and other special events;
• Made nearly 2 million impressions through their digital ad campaign;
• Had their digital campaign ads viewed over 450,000 times; and
• Organized a statewide “get out the vote” tour, visiting with educators at more than 30 public schools across Louisiana and encouraging them to make a plan to vote.
Dr. Mills went on to say that with Governor Edwards’ track record of championing public schools, educators, and students for more than a decade now, she is confident that he will continue moving Louisiana’s education system in a positive direction for the children of the state.
In his first press conference since being re-elected, Governor Edwards outlined his top priorities for the next four years, which included protecting Medicaid expansion, investing in early childhood education, continuing to raise educator pay, and keeping the state’s budget stable. “We look forward to the next four years of working alongside Governor Edwards to attain additional pay increases for Louisiana’s dedicated teachers and school support professionals, but more importantly, to continue enhancing the educational experiences of all Louisiana’s public school students,” Dr. Mills said.
FROM THE PRESIDENT'S DESK
Dr. Tia T. Mills, President
This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, and joy to fill your holidays! – D.M. Dellinger
We have come to the end of another year, which means we are officially halfway through the school year. You have worked hard and remained dedicated to a profession that is, by far, the most important of all means of employment – shaping, molding, and enhancing the precious minds of a generation! While many are celebrating the great fortune of a year gone by, please keep those who may have faced struggles in your thoughts. LAE is a family, and as a family, we want to extend encouragement and strength to those who need it most.
Reflecting on 2019, we have been victorious on several efforts to support Louisiana’s school employees. Activism is in the air – so much so that it has gained national attention. From the classroom to the board room, all eyes have been on our great association. The word of our successes has echoed across the state, earning us increased visibility on radio, television, and social media.
Before things slow down, I want to remind you about a very important item on the association’s calendar: LAE Leadership Elections. Please keep in mind that the nomination process is now open for several seats on the LAE Board of Directors, as well as NEA Representative Assembly Delegate seats.
Information on openings and timelines is available at lae.org/elections. In a democratically run organization like the LAE, the strength of the whole is determined by those who lead. We are only as strong as those who carry the torch. If you have a passion for our schools and your students, consider stepping into a leadership position. All nominations must be submitted by no later than Tuesday, January 7, 2020, at 11:59 pm.
As we look toward the future, I am confident that the association will experience continued success. We kick off our legislative season on March 9. With LAE backed-governor John Bel Edwards in office for another term, we have a friend in public education. Additional funding in districts, safer classrooms, as well as continued salary increases, will be priorities as we forge ahead. It is imperative that we, as educators, develop ongoing relationships with all legislators in our respective regions. We must lend our voices to the critical discussions happening at the state capitol this spring. We must also commit to attending school board meetings, town halls, and any other education stakeholder gatherings. The women and men in positions of leadership need to see your faces and hear about your authentic experiences in our schools and classrooms.
Before we say goodbye to 2019, it’s my sincere hope you get some time to relax during this much-needed break, and come back to work with a renewed spirit and sense of calm. Spend time with your loved ones. Read a book. Get a massage. Take a short trip. Whatever it is you choose to do, do something for you!
LAE is entering 2020 with ambitious goals that are sure to keep us busy, and I, along with LAE leaders and staff, look forward to meeting more members so we can share news on the good work of the association. Until then, I hope your holidays are filled with the joys of the season, and that the New Year brings great happiness and success.
LAE PRESIDENT WRAPS UP TOUR WITH STAFF TO MEET WITH AND GREET ASSOCIATION MEMBERS ACROSS LOUISIANA
LAE staff and local leaders had a productive fall touring the state with LAE’s new president, Dr. Tia Mills. For two weeks, team LAE hit the road to meet and greet members in Alexandria, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Monroe, to remind them of the importance of belonging to the association.
The tour was a chance for members to meet Dr. Mills and talk with her about public school issues unique to their districts. Dr. Mills also had the opportunity to meet with the editorial boards of The Lafayette Daily Advertiser and The Shreveport Times, and even managed to work in interviews with radio shows in Alexandria, Shreveport, and Monroe!
As a result of this tour, LAE welcomed more than 140 new members to our thriving association during visits to more than 30 public schools across the state!
LAE MEMBERS CONTINUE WORK OF ENGAGING AND SUPPORTING EDUCATORS IN THE BEGINNING YEARS OF THEIR PROFESSION
Association members, leaders, and staff attended the National Education Association’s New Educator Conference in Florida this fall. The gathering was meant to engage state association members on ways to best support teachers (and other school professionals) who are in the beginning years of their careers. LAE was highlighted throughout the conference for applying best practices to help grow the association’s base of early career educators.
LAE’s team included LAE President Dr. Tia Mills, teacher member Victor McNeely, LAE Director of Membership Growth and Organizing Dr. Craig Carter, Teaching and Learning Center Coordinator Suzanne Harris, LAE Communications Director Ashley Davies, and LAE Early Career and Aspiring Educator Coordinator Yvie Johnson. The member-staff team had the opportunity to learn about different ways to engage those entering the education profession while also taking advantage of networking opportunities with colleagues from NEA affiliates across the nation. The conference afforded LAE members and staff a chance to share successes and collaborate on innovative ways to engage a broader audience of both members and non-members in this work.
The team also learned about NEA services, mentorships, and programs (specifically professional development elements) that the association can bring on board to fill any voids this population of educators may be experiencing in the first five years of working in the education profession. For more information on how you can help LAE expand on this work, visit lae.org/earlycareersupport.
HELP LAE MAKE SURE PUBLIC EDUCATION IS A CENTRAL ISSUE IN THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS SERVE AS A DELEGATE AT YOUR PARTY’S NATIONAL CONVENTION
What role do state delegates play in presidential elections? Here are five things you need to know:
1. Those people you see waving banners at the national conventions are state delegates. They are sent to the national convention to choose the party
2. The number of delegates (i.e., votes) a state gets depends on its population and voting history. Some states allocate their delegates (votes) proportionally to candidates according to the number of votes they won in the primary (or caucus). Other states take a winner-take-all-approach, allocating all delegates to the single candidate who got the most votes.
3. Anyone can be a delegate. While some seats are reserved for party bigwigs (see below), most are wide open. Aspiring delegates pledge themselves to a candidate and campaign for a spot in the delegation.
4. There are different types of delegates. Most of the delegates who make up a state’s delegation are district-level delegates who represent a geographic area, and at-large delegates who represent the whole state. Most states have super delegates, party influencers who are there to represent the party’s longer-term interests. Super delegates do not vote in the first round of voting.
5. In a contested convention, delegates have major power. To become the nominee, a candidate must receive a majority of pledged delegates on the first ballot. If no candidate wins an outright majority, the convention becomes contested or “brokered.” Unpledged “super delegates” can vote on subsequent ballots, and previously pledged delegates are free to choose how to vote as candidates become eliminated. Voting continues until one candidate wins majority support from all delegates.
Why should you want to be a delegate? The parties need our diversity. States strive to reflect their diversity in the makeup of their delegations. NEA’s membership is mostly female and ethnically diverse to boot, making union members a natural fit.
It’s a powerful way to shape education policy. Educators’ voices deserve to be heard. As a delegate, you’ll help draft the party platform, including making public education a central issue in the upcoming election.
You could end up picking the party’s nominee. If nobody wins in the first ballot, delegates are free to shift their votes to the (proeducation) candidate of their choice.
LAE’s national affiliate, the National Education Association, will help you. If you’re selected as a delegate, NEA will provide training opportunities, logistical coordination, and some financial support.
It’s fun. Getting to see democracy in action, up close, as a party VIP, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us.
Want to learn more? Go to educationvotes.nea.org/presidential-2020/delegates to get more information.