President’s Message to Members

Message from President Corey Rosenlee

Aloha Colleagues,

Welcome back to school!  I want to take this time to thank you all for the commitment you have made to improve the lives of children and our society.

If you are a new teacher, this is a great time to join HSTA in order to take full advantage of all the benefits available to members.  Get to know a veteran member at your school to find out more about our union, and be sure to complete an enrollment form and return it to HSTA.  Or, write to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

This was a big summer in the fight against high stakes toxic testing and the damage these tests are doing to our students and to education. Hawaii teachers took action this summer and have made a difference. One of the things I worked on this summer was to get NEA to take a stance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test. NEA’s previous position had been to be against standardized testing without identifying SBAC as a high stakes toxic test. With the help of Hawaii teachers, the New Business Item passed the NEA annual meeting and made national news. Read about it here: http://bit.ly/1UvWB8t
   
Mahalo to the 102 member delegates who represented Hawaii’s public school teachers at the NEA Representative Assembly in Orlando, Florida.

Also at the NEA Representative Assembly, Maui teacher Rob Harper-O’Connor stood up for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students by introducing an NBI to advocate for equality and support for young people silently suffering because of oppressive conversion therapy practice. Rob’s sensitivity and deep personal caring moved the delegates to pass the NBI, bringing us one step forward toward better understanding of one of the often misunderstood issues some of our students are facing with little or no support.
 
Thanks to you and teachers across the nation, Hawaii had an important role in the historic passage of the Every Child Achieves Act.  The bill passed by the U.S. Senate is a major improvement over the current ESEA or No Child Left Behind Act.  It also allows some to try out new forms of assessments, such as competency based or performance assessments, and encourages states to look at how often they test children and to get rid of tests that are of low quality.

During the three days before teachers returned to school, your chapter leaders joined to strategize ways to reach out to members.  Please watch for some different ways YOU can have a voice in education and in your Association this year.  Come meet with us during a series of listening tours. We are anxious to hear your stories and your solutions.

Finally, show our unity in advocating for the schools our keiki deserve, by wearing red every Tuesday. Take pictures of the teachers in your school and share your red for education on the HSTA Facebook page.

Mahalo,

Corey