"I'm a professional. Politics just isn't for me..."
Why not take a quick quiz to be sure?
Who decides how many students are in your class?
Who decides your salary?
Who decides what retirement benefits you'll have?
Who decides how, when or if you can discipline a student?
Who decides how much money your school gets to educate students?
If you answered elected officials to the questions above, you are right! And voters elect these officials -- to school boards, county commissions, city councils, the General Assembly and Congress.
It's up to us to see that we have the right people making the right decisions, agreed? Yes, but . . .
"I'm just not into politics. I'm not a political person."
If educators don't influence education decisions, then others will be more than happy to make decisions for us.
"I don't want TEA or NEA to tell me how to vote!"
TEA and NEA are you and I. Members just like you interview candidates, discuss the candidate's support on issues that directly impact your profession and your classroom.
No one goes into the voting booth with you. Rather, the Association provides you with facts to help you decide on the best candidates for public education.
"What is TEA-FCPE?"
The Tennessee Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education (TEA-FCPE), formerly known as T-PACE, was formed in 1975. It is a bi-partisan council of members who promote public education through responsible citizenship and political action. TEA-FCPE works to elect Republican and Democratic friends of public education to the state legislature and the governor's office.
"What is the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education?"
The purpose of the NEA Fund is the same as TEA-FCPE. Their recommendations are again made by NEA members and focus on Congressional and presidential candidates.
"I don't care what happens in Washington, D.C."
Think about NCLB! Think about Title I funds, reading programs, Pell Grants for college students, class size reductions and other programs. Think about special education regulations and school safety requirements. These are all decided in Washington.
"Is it only the state legislature and Congress that we need to monitor?"
No, local school boards, county commissions and/or city councils make decisions every day on salary increases, discipline policies, and school funding.
"Voting doesn't matter. One vote won't change the outcome."
Oh, but one vote does make a difference. The 2000 Presidential election illustrates just how close an election can be.
"I vote, but I don't want to contribute to a PAC for special interests."
The special interest of TEA and NEA political action committees - the Fund for Children and Public Education - is you and your students. Through FCPE, members can work together to support issues that matter to us. While teachers can rarely afford $1,000 political contributions, teachers together making $10 and $15 contributions can make a huge difference.