Pro-Teacher Legislation in Kansas Gains Steam
posted by: Alix | February 12, 2013, 04:02 PM   

As reported on the AAE blog, despite record-breaking growth among non-union teacher organizations, local AAE recruiters and state chapters have experienced tremendous hurdles in establishing equal treatment among competing associations. Whether it is the inability to attend a new teacher orientation or access to school mailboxes, non-union associations are constantly passed over in favor of the interests of powerful teacher union interests. Despite this climate, there is renewed hope for teachers seeking options in Kansas, as House Bill 2221 was recently introduced to promote an equal playing field for all teacher associations.

This week, members and staff from the Kansas Association of American Educators (KANAAE), testified in support of House Bill 2221. This "equal access" bill would mandate equal treatment of teacher associations, whether it is in the form of equal time to speak with teachers in meetings, equal access to mailboxes, or email addresses, or any other contact, to all competing education organizations.

Once implemented, the state would simply be facilitating an open playing field for all associations, and teachers themselves would make the ultimate decisions of which organization to join – if any. Equal access laws also have the benefit of getting school districts out of the business of being the middle of whether or not to allow non-union groups in.

The fact is this legislation is pro-teacher choice. As supporters of the bill, AAE and KANAAE recognize the potential in this legislation to put teachers in the driver's seat. House Bill 2221 promotes fairness and will ultimately empower teachers to make financial decisions that best fit their budget and beliefs.

Interestingly, while AAE and other non-union groups seek to welcome teacher members across the country, AAE has never sought to be the monopoly voice for teachers as the union so often states and fears. From the very beginning, the non-union educator movement has been about creating an option for teachers searching for professional benefits, like liability insurance and legal protections, at a fraction of the cost and without a partisan agenda. AAE is not a labor union and has no interest in bargaining contracts or telling members how to vote, but an entirely different entity, solely focused on professionalism and balancing the interests of educators and students to help create a world-class education system.

As the leader of the non-union educator movement, our hope is for teachers nationwide to be presented with the critical information needed in selecting an association that best meets their needs. We hope that House Bill 2221 will soon become law and Kansas teachers will once and for all be presented with their options. Teachers deserve a choice no matter where they teach.

What do you think about equal access laws?

Comment below.

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