Monday, April 1, 2019

VEA Made a Difference During Convention!


In addition to staging a lively school-funding protest on the streets of Richmond, delegates to last week’s 134th annual VEA convention also set their sights on making headway in collective bargaining rights, treating education support professionals more fairly, and improving both the teacher dismissal and record expungement process.
Waving signs for the Union’s “Fund Our Future” campaign, the nearly 600 delegates, accompanied by a #Red4Ed school bus, drew both honks of support from passing motorists and media attention on their Friday march.
“The march did a great job of keeping legislators aware that educators and parents are tired of not getting the funding they need,” said Samantha Killion of the Fredericksburg Education Association.
Jennifer Andrews of the Henrico Education Association said it was even more effective because several legislators who were at the convention joined the march: “They showed their full support for public education in Virginia. It was especially great to see them carrying signs and chanting! With the success of the march in January, it was good to gather together and show our support for #FundOurFuture!”
VEA President Jim Livingston brought the convention to its feet Thursday with a stirring address, challenging VEA members to not only call themselves a Union, but to act like one. The way forward, he stressed, is solidarity, vision, and power.
“Solidarity is about having each other’s backs,” he said, “and vision is committing ourselves to a great public school for every student. Power? It’s right here—all we have to do is take it!”
For some educators, power has been an uncomfortable word, VEA Executive Director Dr. Brenda Pike noted in her speech to delegates, but it needn’t be.
“Power is only the ability to act,” she said. “Why shouldn’t we have it, based on the values that bring us together? We’re the ones on the front lines.”
Other convention highlights included the annual awards dinner, at which Joy Kirk of Frederick County and Leroy J. Williams of Manassas earned the Union’s top honors for teachers and ESPs, respectively; a host of awards to education-friendly legislators; and vigorous floor debate on a wide range of issues.
“Our conventions allow me to connect with my VEA sisters and brothers,” said A. Ramon Moore of the Richmond Education Association. “Every year I leave with a better knowledge of state policy and also what’s going on in other localities.”


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Safe Travels!

One of the last things VEA delegates did before the convention wrapped up was commit to Union growth by listing three colleagues they'd ask to join. Here, Mary Gaddis of Alexandria displays her filled-out "commitment card."

To Move Forward, We Must Move Together

"What is it in your professional life that you care most passionately about?" VEA Executive Director Dr. Brenda Pike asked the nearly 600 DA delegates as the convention began to wind down Saturday. "Each of us must find our own answer...and whatever it is, we can build the power to accomplish it together!"
     While some may be uncomfortable with the word, she went on, it's really "only the ability to act. And power undeniably exists--why shouldn't we have it, based on the values that bring us together?"


Convention Photos Galore!

VEA photographers have been hard at work documenting the goings-on here in RVA for the last three days. To see pics like the one below, and many, many, more, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/veacomm/albums/72157690632368203


The Home Stretch Begins!


VEA President Jim Livingston brought the gavel down Saturday morning for the final business session of the 2019 Delegate Assembly.

Shout-Outs for Some of Our Best



At the Awards Dinner Friday evening, Joy Kirk of the Frederick County Education Association was named the 2019 winner of VEA's Award for Teaching Excellence and Leroy J. Williams of the Manassas Education Association received the Education Support Professional of the Year.

Meeting the Media

VEA Vice President James Fedderman is interviewed after Friday's march.

Friday, March 29, 2019

A Legislative Salute

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus earned the 2019 Legislators of the Year Award, VEA's highest honor for members of the General Assembly. Several Caucus members came to accept the award, led by Delegate Lamont Bagby.


Taking It to the Streets!

Convention delegates, accompanied by a red school bus, took the Fund Our Future campaign to the streets of Richmond today, decked out in #Red4Ed attire and drawing honked horns and other expressions of support from passers-by.




Showing Our Colors

Today is "Red4Ed Day" at the convention, and just about everyone is sporting snazzy red attire. Lots of activists in attendance...


Let's Talk About It



During the first session of New Business, members from around the state rose to bring matters before the entire delegation.

The Mayor Drops In



Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney came by to welcome delegates to the state capital.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Rousing Finish to Opening Night


VEA President Jim Livingston brought delegates to their feet at the close of night one with a rousing address built around the future of our union and three words: Solidarity, Vision, and Power. He challenged members to have each other's backs, work forcefully for great public schools for every child, and not to fear embracing our power, calling for educators to make their presence felt at the polls in November and let legislators know that to underfund our schools is to put their positions at risk.

Some Early Highlights of Night One




Delegates definitely got into the spirit of the convention quickly. In the top photo, Mountain View UniServ members showed both their district colors and enthusiasm; in the center, Richmond students from the Binford Middle School Orchestra performed as delegates arrived; and newly-elected NEA Director Christina Bohringer of Alexandria spoke to the crowd.

We're Underway!


The first business session of the 2019 VEA Delegate Assembly is underway! Educators from around the commonwealth, both teachers and school support professionals, are in Richmond to tackle the challenges and opportunities facing public education. We are THE advocates for schools and students in Virginia!

Delegates Hit RVA!




Delegates have been arriving all afternoon today and hitting the registration area for tonight's kickoff of the convention! Looking forward to all 600 or so arriving safely.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Reaching Out to the Media


Here's a look at the press release VEA Communications put out to the media in advance of our convention:




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


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 25, 2019

Public Demonstration, Legislative Honors to Highlight VEA Convention

Event will kick off Thursday evening, March 28, at the Richmond Convention Center

Virginia Education Association members will take to the streets Friday during the Union’s three-day convention this week at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Some 600 elected delegates, who are teachers and school support professionals from across the Commonwealth, will also consider a range of important public education issues and chart the organization’s course for the year ahead during the convention. The event begins Thursday evening, March 28, at the Richmond Convention Center and runs through Saturday, March 30.

On Friday, VEA President Jim Livingston will release new data showing that that the gap between Virginia teacher salaries and the national average is growing. The pay gap already exceeds $9,200, and Virginia teacher pay since the Recession, adjusted for inflation, has declined 8.5 percent.

As part of VEA’s ongoing “Fund Our Future” campaign, convention delegates, wearing Red4Ed attire and accompanied by a red school bus, will march around RCC Friday afternoon.

“Despite very recent state efforts to raise teacher pay, Virginia has not caught up,” says Livingston. “We will be marching to draw attention to the fact that we risk losing talented teachers to states that pay more, and we’re going to find it even harder to attract great teacher candidates to Virginia.”

During Friday morning’s session, VEA will honor elected officials, highlighted by the awarding of Legislators of the Year to The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. Delegate Lamont Bagby, Caucus Chair, will be on hand to accept the award. VEA will also give several Legislative Champion Awards to the officials listed below.

“Our delegates will discuss and work through some of the most pressing challenges facing public education in Virginia,” said Livingston, a middle school math teacher from Prince William County. “It’s also an excellent time for us to push forward in our efforts to get better school funding and to honor legislators who led the charge for more equitable school funding.” 

he convention also features an awards banquet Friday evening, at which VEA 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. Please bring appropriate credentials to the Convention Center.


2019 Legislative Champions
·         Delegate Hala Ayala
·         Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy
·         Senator Mark Peake
·         Delegate Debra Rodman
·         Delegate Bob Thomas
·         Delegate Cheryl Turpin
·         Delegate Lee Ware






Rumblings in Richmond


Educators from all around Virginia will converge on the Richmond Convention Center this week for VEA's annual Delegate Assembly, and it promises to be a rollicking and productive gathering for all. Among the highlights of the three-day event: The 600 or so delegates will take part in a public demonstration outside the meeting hall Friday, continuing to call attention to the underfunding of our state's public schools.

Stay tuned to this blog for updates on all the convention activities once the gavel falls on Thursday evening!