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Washington Education Association: Strengthening Washington's Public Schools

Out and about is a monthly e-newsletter and a link to the efforts, activities and reflections of what our leaders are doing in their day-to-day work on behalf of you -- our WEA members.

Strike one, strike two but no strike three. Good gains for members
Because of the winter holidays, we'll catch you up for December and January. I spent time, last month, in Willapa Valley during their two-week-long strike. It took a great deal of member resolution to walk the line in an isolated town on an even more isolated road day after day in the cold and (sometimes) pelting rain, but the 25 members there were determined to do the right thing for students and community members. Willapa Valley is a place where everyone calls everyone else by their first name and I was inspired that our members could put that aside and stand together for what they believed. They trusted WEA staff who have strike experience and their tenacity paid off.

Clark College's higher education faculty members play a vital role in the lives of our students whether they are participating in Running Start in high school; transitioning from high school graduate to young adult college student; or older students studying to gain the education needed to support themselves and their families. Their three-day strike brought gains due to powerful organizing ahead of time.

Finally, after a long time working without a contract, our Lake Washington ESP members ratified their Tentative Agreement Monday. I am constantly inspired by our members' tenacity whether on the line or at the negotiating table.

Short session in Olympia
Unified by the gains we hope to make during the 2020 legislative "short session" and the red scarves around our necks, busloads of WEA members gathered in Olympia, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to share stories with legislators and to hear from Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Monica Stonier and our new House Speaker Laurie Jinkins. Janie and I enjoyed spending the day with nearly 500 of you who came to lobby.

Earlier this month, I got to sit in the gallery for Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State address. As I looked out at our House and Senate members, I was moved seeing faces that are beginning to more closely represent the faces of citizens in Washington. It reminded me of the work we must do as educators. Some 50 percent of our students are students of color and the number is increasing. Only 13 percent of our educators are people of color, a number that remains constant. I look forward to the day when the faces of our educators more closely reflect the faces of our students.

Remember to contact legislators asking them to support House Bill 1888 so organizations like the Freedom Foundation, who don't have our interests in mind, will not be able to obtain member birthdates.

Listening to members in Washougal
We love listening to what you're thinking and one of the best ways to do that is to visit you in our schools. I appreciated hearing from members along the Columbia River this month in Washougal.

Keep the fire burning
Janie and I were invited to attend Diversity Sparks and the Human and Civil Rights conferences last December. I am energized when I hear from our newer members about innovative ways to create a more just educational experience for our students and our staff.

WEA Board minutes
WEA Board minutes from September are here. Highlights from the November Board Meeting are here. We will get highlights from the last meeting and November minutes on the website soon.

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