I’m only a local president, so I’m not in the loop. But then again, neither is the rest of the rank-and-file.
For months leading up to May 2nd, we were asked by the IEA leadership to put everything into mobilizing for Capitol Action Day, our annual lobbying effort. This year was special. It was different. This was the moment. The window of opportunity.
First we were told to support the governor’s proposal: the Gross Receipts Tax. It had the best chance of passing the legislature. It had Senate President Emil Jones’ support and, besides, the governor said he would veto any income tax increase.
There was talk we were actually for Senator James Meeks’ tax swapping bill 750 before we were against it. But by the time we got to Springfield (sounds like a Jimmy Webb song) we weren’t supporting any specific bill. We were for increased, sustainable funding. But OK. We got the membership moving. Thousands showed up at the Capitol. We bombed our local state senator Kotowski with e-mails and phone calls. The IEA rank-and-file were asked to step up. And we did.
What happened? Where’d everybody go?
Go to the IEA website and you’ll find some stuff about The Burnham Plan. No more talk about mobilizing the ranks. No more mass lobbying.
Has the IEA’s leadership now changed its strategy? Did we go from a focus on mobilizing the rank-and-file, building a coalition between urban, suburban and downstate organizations involved in public school support to a focus on lobbyists, back-room political deal making, and most disappointingly, a shift to pressing accountability issues in order to prove we deserve the funding?
Please tell me I’m reading this all wrong.