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Sunday, January 4, 2009

State Teacher of the Year Snubbed by State Teacher's Union

Nowhere near here, though. This happened recently in North Dakota, where a large number of teachers do not belong to the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA), that state's Teacher's Union. I could not believe this story when I first came across it while reading how other districts are coping with shrinking budgets.

Beth Ekre, a sixth grade teacher who won the prestigious statewide title of Teacher of the Year, was awarded the honor at a special ceremony, gave a speech, and then headed for a social reception for statewide education award winners, sponsored by the NDEA. At the door, she was turned away and not allowed to enter simply because she is not a member of the NDEA. This rebuke of the State Teacher of the Year by the NDEA drew sharp criticism from the North Dakota State School Boards Association, various media outlets, and some state lawmakers.

From the Fargo, North Dakota, Forum:

"When North Dakota’s Teacher of the Year was shut out of a teachers union reception in October for not being a member, the state’s school boards association publicly criticized the union for playing politics.." " 'We’re the only people who look out for people practicing education in the classroom,' said NDEA Executive Director Greg Burns..“it’s nothing but the (school boards association’s) attempt to embarrass us,” he said. 'Our first mission is to take care of the people who take care of our children.' ”

It is interesting to me that the NDEA Executive Director would say out loud and be quoted saying that the number one, 1st priority is Teachers. I thought the STUDENTS are/were/should be #1, along with making schools better-- right?

Full article, From the January 3rd Fargo Forum, here:

Additional media coverage of this story:

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