The Season Hope and Renewal
It is the time of the year we all look forward to; it’s spring. The grass is turning green, leaves are popping, flowers are blooming. Educators are wrapping up the school year and preparing to send another group students off to the next grade or stage in life. We can’t help but appreciate this time of the year. It is truly a season of hope and renewal.
Some may ask how we can be so hopeful with the current news headlines and the possible attacks on public education. Yes, we are facing many challenges and we expect some rough weather ahead. Whether it’s the movement to voucherize public schools, the efforts to end payroll deduction, or the threat to collective bargaining in our state, there are some storms ahead. Why do I have so much hope? The answer is quite simple; it’s our members. It’s the dedication I see in all of you that tells me there is hope.
First and foremost, I see the dedication you have for the students of South Dakota. Not a day that goes by where I do not see SDEA members going above and beyond for their students—the extra hours at school, the late nights correcting papers or cleaning up after a school concert, and the early mornings preparing for the day or ensuring lunch will be ready on time. You put in those hours for your students.
I’ve also seen members step up when it comes to issues that matter. You came to the Pierre in support of an increase to the state’s sales tax. Record numbers of you have contacted South Dakota’s Congressional delegation regarding your concerns about Betsy DeVos and federal cuts to education funding that will have a devastating impact on our rural schools. Many of you stepped out of your comfort zone to make sure your voice was heard.
Many of you have stepped up and helped grow our membership. You helped your locals host back-to-school events and luncheons for new teachers. You were willing to having those important one-on-one conversations about the difference a collective voice can make. It was through those efforts that our voice grew in numbers.
Yes, there are going to be some stormy waters ahead. As a union, we are facing unprecedented challenges at both the state and national level. Yet, I am still hopeful for our future because of the dedication of our SDEA members. Things will change, but if we continue to work together, we can determine what that change will look like.
As you wrap up the school year, know you are appreciated for everything you do for your students and for everything you do for your Association. Have a good and restful summer. Take time to recharge….and be ready for next year. We are going to need each and every one of you.
Mary J. McCorkle