Worrisome...but not the end of days
Our Point of View
by MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver
Hard to think good thoughts about today’s events.
Various presidential campaigns manufacture blatantly dangerous and undoable promises of what they will do on day one of a new presidency. A cynical, snarky national media gleefully provokes and promotes it all as one big cage fight.
Not many adults in this room.
Closer to home, a millionaire entrepreneur and theocrat who played high school football with sticks, believes our ancestors hunted dinosaurs, and promises to privatize public education and “right-to-work” public and private sector labor unions is running for governor!
Then how about that retired teacher/legislator now running for superintendent of public instruction who has repeatedly turned her back on public school students, schools, and teachers?!
And come June, we hear the U.S. Supreme Court will “Scott Walker” MEA-MFT and public employee unions everywhere. This despite repeated failed attempts to do the same in the Montana state legislature.
Talk about an activist court!
Meanwhile we struggle to make sense of the absurd privatization of the Montana Developmental Center (SB 411) and the mischievous and unconstitutional first-ever legislative step toward privatization of our excellent public schools (SB 410).
The two worst bills to pass the last legislature. Bar none.
Yeah, definitely hard to think good thoughts today.
Not the end of days
But thank God, there actually are good things to remember and things to which we can yet aspire.
First to remember: MEA-MFT membership is growing. We are organizing new public and private sector local affiliates.
In the last three years we have saved public employee and teacher defined benefit retirement plans for all current and future retirees.
We helped kill a voter-suppressing legislative referendum that would have repealed election-day registration.
We helped elect an excellent state supreme court justice, Mike Wheat, defeating his dark-money, right-wing, stealth opponent.
Two legislative sessions in a row, we significantly enhanced public school funding and passed state employee pay plans close to what we bargained with the governor.
We killed each and every anti-board of public education/common core legislative proposal.
We killed all public school privatization bills except one.
We killed each and every scheme to weaponize pre-k through higher education.
We are working better than ever in common cause with other public school advocates including Montana School Boards Association, Montana Rural Education Association, and School Administrators of Montana.
And our foundation, the Montana Professional Teaching Foundation, has never been more proactive in teacher advocacy, professional development, and quality classroom instruction.
We are at the top of our game...getting better every day.
As for our immediate aspirations: We will help re-elect and elect our endorsed political candidate allies and friends: Steve Bullock, Melissa Romano, Denise Juneau; Jesse Laslovich, Tim Fox, Monica Lindeen, Mike McGrath, Jim Shea, and Dirk Sandefur.
And we will engage and re-engage our members and local affiliates to focus on what really matters: We are a union dedicated to and advocating for our members, the communities we serve, and the people of Montana.