In the northern Wisconsin Bayfield community, the impact of the federal shutdown was felt everywhere – including the classrooms. Through the Bayfield Education Association, teachers banded together to take steps to help. While the shutdown showdown has ended, the opportunity to help others has brought members of the local union even closer together.
“The Bayfield Education Association is committed to helping teachers engage with our students in and out of school,” said BEA member Rick Erickson, a science teacher and former Wisconsin Teacher of the Year. “We discussed the impact of the federal government shutdown on some of our students’ families,” he explained. “For starters, we decided to provide a dinner for families in our school district affected by the shutdown.”
Erickson and his wife, Lorie, BEA President Eric Iversen, and BEA teacher-members banded with the community and organizations to help families of employees going without pay due to the federal government shutdown. The Bayfield School District serves many families of federal employees, including the Coast Guard, the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
And, although the BEA initiated the event, the union used the outreach as a chance for educators who have not yet joined to get to know what our organization is all about, the Ericksons said. “We invited any and all school staff to contribute,” they added.