February 11, 2021

WEAC President: Make the Next 10 Years Better than the Last

WEAC President: Make the Next 10 Years Better than the Last Featured Image
Ron Martin

By President Ron Martin
Wisconsin Education Association Council

As a state and nation, the last 10 years have been hard on all of us. From divisive politics to a global pandemic, we’ve been through just about everything. At the end of the day, we have more in common than we admit. We can make the next 10 years better than the last 10.

A decade ago, the world watched Wisconsin devolve into chaos, launching a time in history that embraced a culture of contempt for public employees, teachers included. These days, we are embroiled in new challenges, and it’s time for a new approach.

It’s an opportunity for essential conversations about how we – as communities – will set the stage for a brighter future.

Times of great challenge require collaboration and new thinking to reach solutions. Give-and-take above all-or-nothing. As our communities – including schools – figure out the path forward, educators are committed to doing our part as Wisconsin comes out of the pandemic, so our students are in a better place, more resilient.

This health emergency has shone a harsh light on inequities students face depending on where they live, and also the toll poverty takes on families. COVID has made it crystal clear that the professional status of educators must be restored if educators are to help heal our students. School climate must be addressed so students are safe and learning stays on track. It’s time to get serious about focusing on the next generation of teachers so they are ready for whatever the next 10 years brings.

The path forward begins and ends with collaboration. Public school educators must be involved in discussions about these issues. That is the best way to plan and succeed. We’re already at the table – we never left.

It’s time to lean on each other, trust each other and find solutions to the challenges we face.