VICTORY: Organized People BEAT Organized Money Every Time
Nov 05, 2015
We are educators because we are passionate about the students that are in our schools every day. When we come together with one voice, as the Jefferson County Education Association, we are powerful protectors of our students and our classrooms – and we can support each other as we work to improve our profession and our teaching practice.
On Tuesday, two years of hard work of thousands of JCEA members, educators, parents, students, and community members paid off in a historic victory for our students, our profession, and public education. From the moment the polls closed in 2013, JCEA leaders and staff have been focused on the plan that delivered tonight’s win.
This plan included getting our house in order to build internal strength so we were POWERFUL, PROACTIVE, and PREPARED, and going public to engage the broader community. Our success depended on:
Community Solidarity. Educators and parents worked together to organize hundreds of house parties where thousands of our friends and neighbors had conversations about our fears and, more importantly, hopes for our schools. The relationships we built allowed us to know about what our opposition was doing and saying throughout the county – remember the Salsa Summit photo that was made possible because a parent texted a JCEA member and that member posted to social media?
We were able to mobilize an increasing number of constituency groups around JeffCo due to board mistakes around issues like curriculum censorship and the student walk outs, anti-LGBTQ Facebook posts, Wheat Ridge Plan B, Fletcher Miller staffing, the refusal to follow the advice of Steve Bell about financing facilities needs and building a school, and many others.
Strong Communication. We developed the Stand Up for All Students brand and a strong message that resonated with the community about the need for Transparency, Accountability, and Respect and delivered that message with discipline. The drafters of the recall petition used our messaging for Election 2015.
Member Engagement. In increasing numbers, educators turned out for BoE meetings, marches, rallies, and three Boots on the Blvd. Hundreds of educators circulated petitions and were a big reason the campaign was able to collect three times the number of signatures necessary in a fraction of the time allowed. Almost 1,500 organized walk, knock, and talk shifts were completed by JCEA members and we all talked to friends, family, neighbors, and members of our community about the need to recall the Board Majority. And of course JCEA members, and potential members (and even some administrators) wore blue on Thursdays and Stand Up For All Students buttons everywhere.
Looking ahead in the coming weeks, JCEA will launch a campaign to allow the whole community to begin the healing process in this district and community. We know the Independence Institute and Americans for Prosperity are already planning for Election 2017 and we must be prepared. We will continue to build on what we have accomplished so we can avoid a repeat of these past two years.
We went up against the billionaire Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity and we WON. Organized people DO INDEED beat organized money. Please take time to enjoy this victory. Many of us have spent time away from our families and loved ones as we have worked long hours, so enjoy this moment while resisting the urge to gloat as the professionals we are.
Congratulations! This would not have happened without the hard work and dedication of JCEA members.