Friday, March 31, 2017

VEA Fund Backs Ralph Northam

116 South Third Street ∙ Richmond, VA 23219 ∙ 800-552-9554 (Toll Free) ∙ 804-775-8379 (Fax)

For immediate release: March 31, 2017
Contact:  John O’Neil, VEA Communications,; 804-775-8316

VEA Fund Recommends Ralph Northam in Governor’s Race
ROANOKE—Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam has earned the recommendation of the VEA Fund for Children and Public Education, the Association’s political arm, for this year’s gubernatorial election. The announcement came this evening during a meeting of Fund directors at VEA’s annual convention.
                “Ralph understands the foundational role public education plays in the future of our state,” said VEA President Jim Livingston, who also serves as chairman of the VEA Fund. “He’s the best candidate for our students, schools and educators, and he has an excellent track record of working to meet their needs.”
                Northam, a pediatric neurologist and a Democrat, served in the Virginia Senate from 2007 until 2013, when he was elected lieutenant governor. As an elected official, he’s worked to increase investment in early childhood education and in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) efforts, and has been an advocate for increasing pay for Virginia’s teachers, which lags some $7,000 behind the national average. He’s also a member of Virginia’s first Children’s Cabinet, which is dedicated to the education, health, safety and welfare of Virginia’s young people.
                “We took a good look at the candidates,” said Livingston, noting that Democratic candidate Tom Perriello and Republican candidate Ed Gillespie participated in the recommendation process, “but Ralph is clearly the best qualified to be our next governor.”
VEA on Twitter: @VEA4Kids

VEA's Legislator of the Year is....

Republican State Senator Emmett Hanger, in recognition of his efforts to help raise teacher salaries and his opposition to weakening retirement benefits for educators and to giving regional authority to launch charter schools.

Update from the Capitol

Sam Eure of York County gives the VEA Legislative Committee Report.

Livingston's Thunderous Speech Rallies Troops

Inspiration plus! VEA President Jim Livingston got convention delegates rocking with a stirring speech Friday afternoon in Roanoke, telling them, "Together, we're an army! It's time to mobilize ourselves, our schools, our communities, our civic organizations and our houses of worship!"
     Reminding VEA members that we never get what we don't ask for, Livingston said, "We have to stop apologizing for asking for, even demanding, what our students, schools and educators need. Our communities support us!"
     Livingston also pointed educators toward the polls this November 7, underscoring that VEA was "the only one in the room" that stepped up when the General Assembly initially put no money on the table for teacher salary increases. VEA's rally in the legislature on Lobby Day was so loud that security came to investigate. "You better get involved in politics," Livingston
said, "because politics is sure involved in you!"
     He ended with a call to action that had delegates on their feet chanting, "We are VEA!"

Debate in Full Swing

Democracy, even as we speak.

Delegates from Southwest Virginia prepare to vote on a New Business Item.

The Media Checks In

A report on last night's gubernatorial candidate forum, from this morning's Roanoke Times:

Gubernatorial Candidates Speak at VEA Convention

Pomp and Circumstance

Off and running! A glimpse of the opening of Convention 2017.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Celebrating Our Heritage

A stroll through history. Convention delegates got a good look at VEA's traveling museum exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic merger between the Virginia Teachers Association and the VEA. The exhibit debuted at VEA's Teachers of Color Summit in February.

Gubernatorial Candidates Field Questions from Delegates

In person. Democratic gubernatorial candidates Tom Perriello (above) and Ralph Northam appeared at the convention's opening session to talk about their plans for public education and to answer questions from former VEA President Princess Moss and others. Moss, now secretary-treasurer of the NEA, served as moderator.

Early Arrivals Convene

Business begins. VEA Vice President James Fedderman led one of the several open hearings held Thursday afternoon as the convention moved toward its official opening.

Members Rolling into Roanoke to Kick Off Convention

Excitement is building! Educators have been arriving in the Star City all afternoon and registering in anticipation of the first session of the 2017 VEA Delegate Assembly. More than 600 are expected for the event. Stay tuned for ongoing updates.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

116 South Third Street ∙ Richmond, VA 23219  ∙  800-552-9554 (Toll Free)  ∙  804-775-8379 (Fax)


History, Gubernatorial Candidates Highlight VEA Convention in Roanoke
Fifty years ago, the merger of the predominantly black Virginia Teachers Association and the largely white Virginia Education Association united state educators behind the common goal of providing excellent public education to all of Virginia’s young people. Fittingly, celebrating that historic half-century of collective action and growth will be the focus of VEA’s 132nd annual VEA Delegate Assembly this week in Roanoke.
            Some 700 convention delegates, who are educators from across the Commonwealth, will also consider issues of importance to public education, chart the Association’s course for the year ahead, and hear from gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello. The event begins Thursday evening, March 30, at the Berglund Center and runs through Saturday, April 1.
“Our annual convention offers us a chance to discuss and work through some of the most important issues facing public education in Virginia,” said VEA President Jim Livingston, a middle school math teacher from Prince William County. “We anticipate a meeting that will be productive for both our students and our educators.”    
Northam and Perriello, both Democrats, will speak at Thursday evening’s opening session. Republican candidate Ed Gillespie, who also completed the questionnaire provided by the VEA Fund for Children and Public Education, is unable to attend the convention.
Another convention highlight is the awards banquet on Friday evening, at which the Association will honor deserving supporters of public education in Virginia, both individuals and organizations. A list of honorees will be available to media members in a separate release that day.

Media members interested in covering the Delegate Assembly should call Tom Allen in VEA Communications at 804-274-9569.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

President Livingston's Welcome to Delegates

VEA President Jim Livingston
In his letter to delegates in the VEA convention program, VEA President Jim Livingston offers a taste of what's in store for us in Roanoke.

March 30, 2017

Welcome to the 2017 VEA Delegate Assembly of the Virginia Education Association in  beautiful Roanoke, known as the “Star City.”

This year’s convention theme—50 Years of Progress in Unity—commemorates the merger in 1967 of the VEA with the Virginia Teachers Association. The VTA was formed in 1887 to serve the professional needs of black educators, and to advocate for better conditions in black schools. The VEA was formed earlier, in 1863, and followed the tradition in the segregated South of maintaining a restrictive membership policy for many years. The story of how these two organizations came to merge in 1967 is told in an exhibit in the convention concourse area that I encourage you to visit during this meeting. We commend the extraordinary leaders of the VTA, who showed courage, vision, and an unwavering belief that with unity comes strength. The VEA has transformed considerably in the five decades since merger, and we are now unmistakably an Association committed to the cause of education and justice for all.

Unity must continue to be our goal because our profession and indeed our nation confront so many forces of division. We are faced with unprecedented attacks on our students and our  profession. These attacks are politically motivated—and I hope that you will do your part to answer them. As convention delegates, you will have the opportunity to hear from candidates to become Virginia’s next Governor. I hope that as you listen and reflect on their remarks, you ask yourself whether they would move us toward unity behind better education for students or whether they seek to divide us.

Here in Roanoke, you’ll spend the better part of three days debating education policies and practices as well as Association priorities. You’ll pass new business items and new resolutions and approve the Association’s budget for 2017-18. You’ll raise money for the VEA Fund for Children and Public Education. And you will elect a new Virginia representative to the NEA Board of Directors. As all of these activities are important, I hope you also recognize the  importance of coming together and working together to ensure the future of our Association and of public education.

I wish you a rich, stimulating, and enjoyable convention experience.

Jim Livingston
VEA President