By Scott McGilvray, NEA-NH President
This fall, Americans across the country will elect a president, vice president, governors, state legislators, and members of the U.S. Congress and Senate. Early and absentee voting has already started in several states. As educators, we are keenly aware that we are electing our bosses – officials who influence what happens in our schools and classrooms.
One race this year has the potential to have a significant impact on the lives of public education employees and their families: the race for New Hampshire Governor.
NEA-New Hampshire, the state’s largest union, is recommending Colin Van Ostern for Governor, and is asking our 17,000 members and their families to support him during the campaign and on
Election Day in November. Colin shares our belief that good public schools are the foundation for strong communities and a vibrant New Hampshire economy. He believes to build a strong economy and strengthen New Hampshire’s quality of life, it is critical that all kids — no matter which town or family they’re from — must be able to go to great schools and begin a life and career without being crushed by debt. Colin is an education innovator who helped launch the nonprofit College for America at Southern New Hampshire University, where thousands of students are enrolled in accredited degree programs, most debt-free.
He knows that continuing to slash school funding and failing to support pubic education employees risks losing an entire generation of students who won’t get a second chance.
Imagining what the state of public education and the plight of middle-class families would have been if Governors Lynch and Hassan were not in the corner office these past years is terrifying.
Losing the Governor’s office would give politicians and outside special interest groups who have never spent time in a classroom, unchecked power to slash funding, weaken curriculum, and gut public education. Just take a look at some of the legislation that has been proposed, and in some cases passed, these past few years: so-called right-to-work, increases to charter school funding at the expense of local public schools in need, failure to pass an educator death benefit or to modify the hours needed for our ESP members to access FMLA, just to name a few.
The Governor’s office has stood as our last defense and we cannot afford to lose it.
It’s time to recommit to our kids, our workers, and our future by making sure we have the best educated children and workforce in the world. Colin Van Ostern understands this and will fight with us to ensure every child has access to a world-class education and public education
employees are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
For the sake of our students and their parents, we need to be sure that the Governor’s office remains in the hands of a champion of public education and working families, safeguarding the dream of a quality public education for every child in New Hampshire.
Educating our students is the most important investment our society can make in our future. We need to elect leaders who will make public education a priority. When education voters do not participate in elections, we get leaders in the halls of power who do not value public education or public educators. This special issue of the Educator contains report cards of our current New Hampshire Legislature and recommendations for the upcoming election. NEA-New Hampshire recommended candidates are pro-education, pro-educator, pro-student,
and believe as we do that every child in NH deserves a great public school, and caring qualified educators. I urge you to support them this November 8.
I ask that when you vote, don’t go alone. Bring your family and friends and neighbors. Contact former students, be a mobilizing force in your neighborhood and get people to the polls.
Elected leaders make critical decisions for our students and schools every day. Unfortunately, most of these leaders know very little about our schools. Too often, and in too many places, these decisions are based on politics rather than best practices. We know that educators are the real experts when it comes to our schools. We need elected officials who will put the interests of our schools and our students at the top of the agenda. Our students need and deserve to have the adults in their lives work together to help ensure their success.
We all have a personal stake in this election. The candidates this year have profoundly different views on the issues important to us as professional educators.
From education funding, class size, respect for our profession, access to healthcare, or affording to send our kids to college, the candidates could not be more different.
We know why we got into this profession. We know the real meaning of the words “priority”, “future”, and “fairness”. We need lawmakers who do as well. We need elected officials who will keep our students first and extreme political ideology out of the discussion. We cannot afford to allow New Hampshire to become a state where a few people do really well, while a growing number of people struggle to get by.
Most of our students can’t vote yet. It’s up to us: educators, parents, and community leaders, to make choices November 8 that will help ensure that our students have the future they deserve. Please join me in supporting our recommended candidates on election day.