Posted by Michael Ryan (Editor), July 16, 2013 at 09:57 am, Windham Patch
The Windham Education Association has begun a four-part sign series.
Windham teachers have gone without a contract since 2011, and members of the local teachers union are working to change the conversation and get people in town thinking positively about education.
The Windham Education Association (WEA) has created a group, originally called the “Crisis Team” but since changed to the “Positive Action Team,” to address the message of education in town.
Part of that message dissemination includes a four-part road sign series.
The first batch of 20 to 25 signs has begun to crop up along the town’s roads. Each of the signs have a white background with a single word – “Education.”
“I think our main goal is just to get people talking about education and people realizing that there is an issue right now,” said Jenna Cove, vice president of the WEA.
Cove is also on the faculty at Golden Brook School.
A second batch of signs, with the words “Education Matters,” will be the next to appear in town. Two other sets will be ordered leading up to the March 2014 election.
Signs have been placed at the schools, Griffin Park and other frequented areas of town.
In March 2013, voters knocked down a proposed contract that was negotiated between the WEA and Windham School District.
“Some people don’t understand what was in our contracts,” Cove said. “The big thing was the insurance, and I don’t know what it’s going to look like next year and I don’t have all the details but we were going to be taking on a lot more of our insurance in those new contracts.”
Cove admitted that the WEA didn’t do a great job as an association getting their message out before the last election, but said they are working to change that.
She explained that some brand new teachers in the school system, who are being hired at a higher pay rate, are making more than the teachers brought in three years ago who currently have their step raises frozen.
“It’s a hard thing,” said Cove. “We work hard and it kind of makes you feel like we’re not appreciated.”
A contract negotiation team has been selected by the WEA for this year, with discussions between the district and the union scheduled to start up later this summer.
The group is working separate from the school board on community outreach for now, although Cove said she expects they will be working with the board as the year goes on.
The WEA members have also worked with some of the folks at the National Education Association (NEA) to help craft their message for the people.
The WEA is working on informational pamphlets and will attend community events such as the Harvest Festival in the fall.
“I think that our goal really is to show that education does matter to us,” said Cove. “It’s not all about the money but it’s about just being fair and getting paid for something we’re doing. We believe in children. We believe in quality.”
For more information on the WEA, visit their website here.
You can also find the WEA on Facebook here.