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MAY 10, 2016

Teacher Attendance at NL Rising Rally on Saturday, May, 7, 2016


I want to personally thank you for attending the NL Rising Rally at the Confederation Building on Saturday. It was one of the most impressive displays of solidarity and strength we have seen in a very long time. For those of you not able to attend but were there in spirit, thank-you. We hope to arrange other opportunities for teachers to express displeasure with this budget and demand a budget that invests in our students, our schools, our profession, and our province’s future.

Well over 2000 attended and approximately 700 (or more) were teachers, students and parents. To survey the crowd and behold a sea of green NLTA signs promoting education was one of my proudest moments as a teacher. Saturday’s rally was one of our finest moments as an Association. And it was made possible because you took time out of your busy schedules to make it happen. I am a believer of the “build it and they will come” philosophy. The education forum in November and Saturday’s rally were acts of faith. In both cases you were there to support your Association and your fellow teachers. Never lose sight of that fact.

If you couldn’t attend, check out; I think you’ll agree the turnout and energy were inspiring.

Saturday’s rally was only the beginning. There is still much work to do as Government rolls out the next phases of its Renewal Initiative. We are developing a long-term strategy to deal with the challenges ahead, and we need to build on the success of Saturday’s rally.

For now, I’d like you to consider taking a few actions that will send a clear message. First, if you haven’t written your MHA, the Premier, Minister Bennett, and Minister Kirby to voice your opposition to Budget 2016 and its impact on education, consider doing so. Send an email/letter as an individual or as part of a staff. There are over 6000 teachers in this province. If even half write a letter, it sends a clear message. Many teachers have copied me their letters. They are powerful and poignant indictments of the Provincial Budget.

Secondly, invite your MHA, Premier Ball, Ministers Bennett or Kirby to meet with you as a staff. Make sure they hear your concerns. One staff on the Northern Peninsula did so and held the meeting in a classroom. It’s safe to say that 28 teachers in the cramped quarters of a classroom alone sent a clear message to the MHA.

In the meantime, we do have about 500 placards available should you wish to organize your own rally or join with another group. Get in contact with your branch president and see what needs to be done. We can help you with logistics. If it is at all possible, I or a member of the Provincial Executive will attend.

Expect to hear more from your Association as we move forward.

Take care,