When Educators Act, Communities Win
For a long time now, public education, and the workers who serve the public as teachers, faculty, counselors, etc. have been under political siege. We have been subject to stalled or slashed budgets, cuts to programs, personnel, and basic classroom resources, and have steadily been in the crosshairs of privatization advocates who want to run schools as (profitable) businesses. Yet it has become an all too mainstream narrative that it’s the educators serving our students who are selfish, lazy, and getting rich by draining the public coffers.
In many states, however, where the worst effects of this corrosive narrative have been felt, educators are fighting back, not just in their schools and universities, but at the ballot box, and in the halls of power. As UICUF union member Elizabeth Todd-Breland wrote in the Washington Post recently, “educators are protesting not just for better pay, but also for increased funding for public education to benefit students and communities.”
The recent wave of teacher uprisings have won substantial gains for public education as a whole, using many time-honored tools from the community organizing playbook, including public advocacy, work stoppages, and electoral activism. We’ve also seen an unprecedented wave of educators signing up as political candidates across the country. Educators and communities are fed up, and increasingly fighting to shift the political momentum toward supporting public education instead of degrading and defunding it. We need you to join us in that fight!
We Need 90%
Given the significant impact that politics can have on public education, we want to remind everyone that national elections are right around the corner, and voter registration deadlines are coming even sooner.
Union member, Professor of Political Science, and former public servant, Dick Simpson, strongly urges his colleagues to participate in the election process. “The 2018 election is too important to sit out. We need 90% registration and 90% of us UICUF voting. To make it easy, your can register to vote electronically in Illinois and we have an early voting site on campus for three days before Election Day November 6.”
There are also a number of opportunities to register in person on campus. Next week, the Civic Engagement Committee of UIC will be hosting National Voter Registration Day events in the quad. You can show up any time from 11-1pm, Tuesday, Sept. 25th. Come make sure you’re registered and ready to vote, in what promises to be a pivotal election for higher education issues in the state of Illinois, and the nation. If you haven’t gotten around to registering, or updating your registration with your current address, now is the time!
Your Committee On Political Education
We also want to remind all of our members that UIC United Faculty has started an independent political fund to support candidates that support public higher education. Union dues never go toward funding political campaigns, but we clearly have a critical interest in supporting candidates who value public education.
Even small contributions help, and faculty members working to educate the public on political issues goes a long way toward promoting a vision of higher education of which we can all be proud. If you want to become a contributor to our newly formed Committee On Political Education (COPE) fund, or want to get involved with the committee’s work, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
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Our next contract bargaining session is September 27th. We are asking all our members to wear their UICUF T-shirts and pins that day to show solidarity and support for our bargaining team at the table. If you are a member and need a T-shirt, pin, or other UICUF materials, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
Until we win a fair contract, we will be issuing periodic updates via email, facebook, twitter, and here on our website. We strongly encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. With your support, we can make UIC an even better place to work and learn!