2018 UEA House of Delegates
The UEA’s governing body, the House of Delegates, met Saturday, May 19, at Vista Heights Middle School in Saratoga Springs. At the House delegates heard reports on the status of the Association, discussed and adopted the UEA Legislative Platform and budget, and adopted policies to govern the Association. More than 200 delegates, elected by their peers in each of the state’s local associations, participated in the 2018 House, along with 35 guests.
In addition, UEA President Heidi Matthews honored departing UEA Executive Director Lisa Nentl-Bloom who recently announced she has accepted a new position. She also recognized departing NEA State Director Ed Sanderson and UEA Board members Stuart Bailey (High Desert), Angelique Morrill (Wasatch) and Amy Barton (Council of Local Presidents) who are participating in their last House of Delegates in their positions.
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Report by NEA State Directors Ed Sanderson and Mike Harman
NEA State Directors from Utah, Ed Sanderson and Mike Harman, took delegates on a “stroll down memory lane” of their experiences of the past few months. “We were tasked with opposing one of the worst secretary of education nominees on record, and trying to convince our national elected representatives to do the same,” said Sanderson. While not successful, the opposition to Betsy DeVos engaged NEA members across the country. “Just in 2017, there were 2.4 million email sen, 112,000 phone calls and 125,00 new activists,” noted Harman.
The directors noted that they were able to meet with US Representative John Curtis about the DREAM Act and other issues, calling Curtis “a conservative we continue to have on our side.” They noted reinstatement of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a major national success. The program, which provides low-cost health coverage to children in families that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, was reinstated for six years.
“One of the big things facing NEA is the expected Supreme Court decision this summer in the Janus case, which will likely alter the landscape…for years to come,” said Harman.
This was the final NEA Director report from Sanderson who is retiring at the end of the school year.
Together We Are Strong
Report by UEA Executive Director Lisa Nentl-Bloom
“My speech this year has been a hard one to write,” said UEA Executive Director Lisa Nentl-Bloom in her final address to the UEA House of Delegates. “I finally realized it is because my heart is so full of pride of what we have accomplished and so full of sadness to be leaving.” Nentl-Bloom recently announced she has accepted a position in Washington, DC, with the NEA.
“The work we have accomplished and the wins we have achieved throughout the organization at all levels – state, UniServ and locals – has been amazing,” she said prior to providing a list of recent “wins” for the association, including:
- Significant growth in membership. “This year every UniServ experienced net gains, we led the NEA region in Early enrollment.”
- Four good legislative sessions. “Funding increases of 4 percent, 3.5 percent, 4 percent and this year’s 7 percent.”
- Telling our story. “Policymakers used to think we were ‘whiny teachers.’ Now we tell our stories using real life examples and from a frame of the impact of the student.
- Successful negotiations. “A significant majority of our locals now have attained a $40,000 starting salary or better.”
“Together we are strong. Because we are doing such work, the future of the state is great,” said Nentl-Bloom. “And it’s on you.”
Not Throwing Away Our Shot
Report by UEA President Heidi Matthews
EA President Heidi Matthews used references to the iconic smash Broadway hit ‘Hamilton’ as she set the theme for the 2018 UEA House of Delegates: Not Throwing Away Our Shot.
“Hamilton understood his circumstances. He knew that he couldn’t wake up one morning and earn a place in the history books,” said Matthews. “He understood that in order to play a role and have a shot in shaping our country that he needed skills, strategies and timing. Only when he was prepared could he move swiftly to capitalize on an opening and opportunity to take a successful shot.”
Matthews then compared ‘our shot’ to a basketball team. “Behind every shot on the court is countless hours of practice, teamwork, discipline and strategy. So it is with our shot, UEA. We are on the cusp of so many opportunities and we can’t just rely on our good looks and charm to be successful. Just as basketball players prepare for their window to take their shot, so must we.
“If we are going to have any shot to change the stars for our students and our profession it will come from our collective. Having a shot at success means having a team devoted to the same cause, united in purpose, supporting and strengthening one another and valuing the different roles that the team members play.”
“We…are developing a strategy to grow our influence with the final piece of the Our Schools Now Compromise – the gas tax vote in November,” said Matthews. She then introduced a plan to wear #RedForEd each Tuesday this fall leading up to the Tuesday election day on November 6. “We will need our whole team all in, with each local planning their own strategies and taking advantage of each and every window of opportunity to lead us to a successful shot with securing long term funding for public education in Utah,” she said.
“Let’s not throw away our shot to make a difference for our students, our profession, and public education in Utah,” concluded Matthews. “It’s our time. Our shot.”
Action on House Bills, Budget, Other Business
The 2018 UEA House of Delegates adopted the 2019 UEA Legislative Platform and Priorities, bills to amend UEA Bylaws, UEA Resolutions, four New Business Items and the 2018-19 UEA budget.
UEA Legislative Platform & Support Positions—
Delegates at the House approved the UEA Legislative Platform & Support Positions and Legislative Priorities for 2019. The approved documents made a few changes to the platform, including clarification that the UEA supports legislation to prevent the collection of individual educator evaluation data in CACTUS or other electronic formats. The House approved an amendment to the Legislative Platform in support of legislation that promotes restorative justice practices.
The House approved three bills to amend the UEA Bylaws. All three made minor modifications updating references from Student Members to Aspiring Educator Members. According to bill sponsors Letitia Teneau-Sword and CJ Gebhardt, this language mirrors changes made by the National Education Association.
Each year, the House adopts UEA Resolutions to state the official UEA position on various topics. The House approved a few changes to the 2018-19 Resolutions. One change urged affiliates to enroll school nurses in active membership. Another encourages policies that require educators be fully licensed and prepared to teach before entering the classroom as a teacher of record. The House also adopted a set of conditions to which all charter schools should comply and an updated statement on multicultural education.
New Business Items—
Four new business items were proposed and adopted by the House of Delegates:
- New Business Item No. 1 directs the UEA to sponsor an organizing meeting of aspiring educator members by October 2018 to adopt governing documents and elect officers in preparing the program to become a UEA affiliate organization.
- New Business Item No. 2 asks that the UEA publicize funding opportunities available through NEA Ed Justice or the NEA Racial and Social Justice Department. It also asks the UEA to research available stipends or grants to mentor and assist in developing and implementing solutions for existing inequities.
- New Business Item No. 3 directs the UEA to apply for grants to raise awareness and train leaders in trauma-informed and restorative justice teaching methods statewide and make training available to UEA members.
- New Business Item No. 4 directs the UEA to apply for grants and explore other funding opportunities to create a scholarship fund to send members from ethnic minority groups to leadership training.
2018-19 UEA Budget—
UEA Vice President Roger Donohoe presented the proposed 2018-19 UEA budget, which was provided to each delegate prior to attendance. Previously approved by the UEA Budget and Audit Committee, the UEA Rules and Resolutions Committee and the UEA Board of Directors, the proposed budget was adopted by the House of Delegates.
PAC Donations: University of Utah Flag to Fly Again at UEA
As has become tradition, House of Delegates attendees contributed to the UEA Political Action Committee (UEA-PAC) fund in honor of a designated University. The flag of the school receiving the most donations earns a spot on the UEA’s flagpole in the fall. The University of Utah had taken the honors for four straight years before being knocked off by BYU in 2016 and then Utah State in 2017. But after a flurry of contributions, University of Utah regained the top spot with the most donations. Look for the UofU flag over the UEA Building this fall.
Delegates also contributed through a basket raffle. In all, the activities generated record contributions for UEA-PAC.