I’ll say it again; I never tire of telling people how proud I am of all our members and the dedication you show in the face of adversity. No matter what our Education Commissioner, any elected official, or detractor says about us or the work we do, we know the truth.
We know there is nothing we wouldn’t do to be sure our students, our children, are safe, welcomed, and supported so they can become the success story that is inside each one of them.
Each year we say elections matter, and this year it couldn’t be more true. In fact, this year could be the single most important election cycle in our lifetime. This year feels different because it is different. We all know that being an educator has always been one of the hardest jobs in the world. The current political environment makes its tougher than ever. We persevered through the hardest school years in recent memory and are now confronting an unprecedented staffing crisis across nearly every job category.
We continue to work in chronically underfunded public schools. Radical politicians continue their efforts to censor what we teach, bring culture wars to our classrooms, and punish us for doing our jobs. It is no wonder New Hampshire educators are growing more disillusioned and exhausted every day.
In New Hampshire, we have arrived at this point because Governor Sununu hired Frank Edelblut despite having no background or interest in public education. Governor Sununu backed and cheered Commissioner Edelblut’s efforts to continually destabilize a national model for public education – then gave him a pay raise.
I can remember a time in New Hampshire when the Commissioner of Education was focused on the welfare of the children who attend our state’s public schools. But Governor Sununu re-hired Commissioner Edelblut for another four years after watching his efforts to destabilize our schools drive good teachers out of the state. Just ask any school district how many teaching positions they still have open as they start the new school year. Without enough teachers, class sizes soar, one-on-one attention vanishes, and student success stagnates.
Lest we forget, in just the last two years;
– Sununu prioritized ski resort workers for COVID vaccines over educators
– Sununu signed and launched Commissioner Edelblut’s school voucher scheme, the most expansive in the country, diverting millions of dollars to private and religious schools.
– Sununu signed the banned concepts law that has chilled important classroom conversations and allowed Commissioner Edelblut to continue his support for efforts that seek to undermine public education at every turn.
Because of his unfailing support for Commissioner Edelblut as he abandons our public schools, it is clear public-school students, educators and their families cannot trust Governor Sununu to support and defend public education.
Now more than ever, we need elected officials who will fight for students and educators, not donors and corporations.
We recently announced our recommendations for elected officials and leaders who believe as we do that our schools must be safe environments that are funded fairly. Many of them have already voted against the Commissioner’s misplaced priorities We all agree that we need legislative leaders who are focused on increasing state support for public education so that students and property tax payers benefit. Leaders who listen to the voices of educators, not attack them, and support a robust public education that makes sure our children are prepared to succeed in the future.
These elected officials will not magically appear at the statehouse in Concord in January. Their journey to Concord starts this month with primaries to determine who will be on many of the ballots in November.
We need to speak up fearlessly in support of those who support our mission and in the real solutions we know will have a positive and lasting impact on our schools.
We need to hold those who have failed our students and our members accountable at every ballot box.
We need to remind those around us, in our districts, on our school boards, and in the Statehouse that students, parents, and educators deserve better. They need partners, not partisans. They need solutions, not strife.
We need to be sure all our friends and families are registered to vote, and have a plan to vote.
And then we all need to vote our future.
NEA-New Hampshire President