Shaw can expect to add a few more items to her calendar in the upcoming year after being named the 2018 National Education Association (NEA) Education Support Professional (ESP) of the Year during Saturday’s ESP of the Year Award Banquet at the NEA ESP Conference in Orlando, Fla. “I work in special ed and I just love my students! I dedicate every moment I’m there showing them love and what they can do without limits. The court stayed the verdict in Vergara v. School support professionals make up more than one-third of all public school employees. The deep-pocketed corporate interests who have been undermining public education across the nation had reason to celebrate on June 10, 2014, when a superior court judge in California ruled that laws governing teacher due process were unconstitutional. The group was created by Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Welch and is supported by privateers who see united and vocal educators as obstacles to their corporatist reform agenda. State of California in front of the Ronald Reagan Building in downtown Los Angeles, February 25, 2016. “Although they seldom seek the spotlight, this national award will increase awareness of the important roles we play,” said Matthew Powell, the 2019 NEA ESP of the Year, and a custodial supervisor at Central Elementary School in Mayfield, Ky.
The annual award is NEA’s highest for an ESP. “NEA congratulates Sherry and thanks her for the dedication and passion she has for her students and her job,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “She understands that in order to nurture student success, educators must work hand-in-hand. Huerta, whose foundation has worked on education issues for the last five years in California’s Central Valley, had made a video with the group. Her advocacy on behalf of students and colleagues includes extensive volunteer work with the Special Olympics and other community organizations. It begins with corporate cash flowing into new think tanks and advocacy groups, or films like “Waiting for Superman” and “Won’t Back Down.” And it all eventually trickles down to the neighbor a few doors down who asked you, “I support public schools and I love my own child’s teacher, but, gosh darnit, why can’t bad teachers ever be fired and what’s wrong with being held accountable?” Needless to say, the conversation over public education needs to change course but is still largely bogged down in the morass of distortions and warped opinions. During the trial, the court ignored evidence demonstrating how California’s due process protections for teachers improve public schools, while pronouncing the laws to be deterrents to good teachers being hired in high poverty schools—a claim unsupported by the facts. “There is no evidence—zero—that these statutes are the cause of any constitutional violation,” Rubin said.
For more than ten years, public schools have been assaulted by a barrage of destructive policies that have been fueled by the widespread dissemination of misinformation. Treu in 2014 is riddled with judicial errors and represents an extraordinary example of judicial overreach. The lawsuit was filed in May 2012 by a group called Students Matter on behalf of nine California students. The Vergara decision, if allowed to stand, will make it even more difficult to attract quality teachers to struggling schools. “High-poverty districts do not suffer from too few teachers being removed; they suffer from too much teacher turnover,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said. “Attracting and retaining effective teachers to these schools must be the highest priority, but the trial court’s decision will only make that much harder.” A decision in Vergara v. I’m at a loss for words right now, thank you so much!” said Shaw, to the rousing applause of more than 800 school support staff, administrators, and other educators from across the country who are participating in the 27th annual conference. Alfonso Salais teaches Spanish in the International Baccalaureate Program at Lansing Eastern High School in Lansing, Mich. The conference theme, Education Support Professionals Uniting Our Members and the Nation for Strong Communities, Empowered Educators, and Successful Students, set the tone for the dozens of workshops and discussions which focused on NEA’s goals and priorities including supporting the whole student, engaging early career educators, racial justice in education, effective teacher-paraeducator teamwork, and ensuring that the voices of educators are heard by legislators on Capitol Hill, and in city halls and statehouses across the nation. “First in the building every day and typically last to leave, she is focused on creating the best experiences for all students as well as adults,” Tanaina Elementary School Principal Cheri Mattson stated in her recommendation letter to the ESP of the Year Selection Committee. “If it needs to be done, she is doing it, knowing it will help the students or adults gain confidence and success in the end.” In addition to a career as a special education paraeducator, over the years Shaw has coached volleyball, basketball, cross country running, track and field, and cross-country skiing. “My goal is to ensure students have a positive, fun experience,” she stated in her letter to the selection committee. “But not that they should just learn the fundamentals of the sport, but also the fundamentals of life, such as integrity, sportsmanship, working together as a team and how to be successful and achieve their full potential.” Within the 900-member MSCEA, Shaw is a building representative at Tanaina while also representing MSCEA at other schools during discussions about workplace issues. “I enjoy sharing how our union is working hard for us and answering questions they may have,” she states. “I encourage all paraprofessionals to take a more active role in our local chapter.” As a local leader, Shaw has helped to promote ESP Appreciation Week in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District by raising funds for gift packages to ESPs in the district. State of California by the California Court of Appeal is expected by the end of May.
Within NEA, ESPs are categorized in nine career families: • Paraeducators • Clerical services • Custodial and maintenance services • Skilled trades • Technical services • Security services • Transportation services • Food services • Health and student services. “I have seen her in the hallways, on the field, and in the classroom doing what she does best … being an amazing educator,” stated MSCEA President Karen Salisbury. “She works with students, parents, staff, and community members with such uniqueness that each person feels special.” Well-funded misinformation campaigns succeed in part by leaving no rock unturned in the quest to smear whatever person or institution they are targeting. He is a member of the NEA ESP Careers Committee and son of an ESP. “My mom has been in the food and child nutrition service for over 35 years,” he said. “The level of expertise, dedication, and skills that she brings to her school district is second to none.” Salais acknowledges that when most people think about educators, they have teachers in mind. “This paradigm needs to change and broaden while highlighting all the important people at a school who play a critical role in the growth and development of children,” he said. “A bill like this will highlight the work of education’s unsung heroes — ESPs.” Like his mother and family, Salais notes that ESPs “live in the same communities where they work, attend the same places of worship, and shop in the same grocery stores as their students and their families. They are an invaluable resource even outside of school.” Of NEA’s 3 million members, almost 500,000 are ESPs represented in the following nine career groups: Clerical services Custodial and maintenance services Food services Health and student services Paraeducators Security services Skilled trade services Technical services Transportation services “In all these capacities and services, we give hope, build bridges, heal and mend broken hearts, build self-esteem and nurture students,” said Chandler. “Passage of the RISE Act will spotlight the important work ESPs do to make a difference in the lives of students.” For more information about ESPs, visit: www.nea.org/ESP. The award program will continue for NEA members even if the RISE Act is enacted. Preeminent education policy experts, school board members and administrators, civil rights advocates, award-winning teachers, and top legal scholars filed amici curiae, or “friend of the court” briefs urging the Court of Appeal to uphold the basic protections on which teachers and students depend. At the banquet, NEA Vice President Becky Pringle presented Shaw with a commemorative trophy, bouquet of red roses, and $10,000 check.
Michael Rubin, the legal counsel representing California’s educators, emerged from the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles optimistic, telling reporters outside that he was encouraged by the focus and tenor of the justice’s questions, which zeroed in on the profoundly flawed reasoning behind the plaintiffs’ arguments. “We are confident we will prevail,” Rubin said. Recognizing that this well-funded operation is unpopular with the general public, its architects present themselves as guardians of the interests of disadvantaged students. Dolores Huerta to Students Matter: Cease and Desist A few weeks ago, Students Matter, the group behind the Vergara lawsuit, was featuring renowned civil rights leader Dolores Huerta on its website as a prominent supporter of its legal action against teacher due process. But make no mistake: Vergara is only about dismantling teacher job protections. NEA Vice-President Becky Pringle (left) and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Princess Moss (right) with 2018 ESP of the Year Sherry Shaw In an environment known for its icy cold climate, Alaskan Sherry Shaw knows how to keep warm.
Attorneys representing 400,000 educators asked a three-justice panel in the California Court of Appeal to overturn the meritless decision. Students Matter focuses on the wrong problems and the wrong solutions, completely ignoring the incredible challenges high-needs districts face in recruiting and retaining good teachers. Shaw also received a coveted ESP of the Year Hall of Fame plaque. “Now, some people will tell you it’s not what you do but how you do it that counts,” said Pringle. “Sherry not only does 12 things at once, but she does them all phenomenally well.” For 13 years, Shaw has worked closely with teachers to prepare classroom materials, modify curriculum, work one-on-one and in small groups with special education students, as well aid in the students’ socialization and behavior management. She stays busy, inspired by her work as a special education paraeducator and coach at Tanaina Elementary School in Wasilla, and member of NEA-Alaska and the Matanuska-Susitna Classified Employees’ Association (MSCEA). See Also: What Teacher Tenure Is — And What It’s Not Because the evidence fell so far short of establishing any link between teacher due process and educational disparities, the court had no business striking down the statute, Rubin said. “Disputes over education policy are for the legislature to resolve, not the courts.” Gabby Ibarra, a fifth grade teacher at Niemes Elementary school in Cerritos, California, told reporters outside the court that the relentless assault on teacher workplace protections is about stirring up “a problem that doesn’t exist”: the supposed insurmountable obstacles in firing bad teachers and the impact on lower-income students. “My rights in the classroom are what protect the right of my students to a good education,” Ibarra said. “The Vergara case undermines our profession. The decision issued by Judge Rolf M. In addition, these protections are important to address the severe teacher shortage, helping to make teaching more attractive despite low pay. Fifth grade teacher Gabby Ibarra speaks to the press prior to oral arguments for Vergara v. Who’s Looking Out for Rural Schools?
Rural schools – and the 9 million students homework market they serve – stand to lose big from the Trump-DeVos privatization agenda. — September 12, 2017 • By Tim Walker — Since 1992, NEA has recognized these educators annually with its ESP of the Year award. In fact, teacher job protection statutes, which California legislators developed and regularly review and update, allow school districts considerable latitude in hiring, firing, and assigning teachers, Rubin pointed out. Heins. But after learning that the Vergara suit would strip basic workplace rights from teachers, and that Students Matter was allied with the same interests who support budget cuts to California schools, Huerta, saying the group misrepresented details of the case in an attempt to get her support, immediately demanded the video be removed. In Wasilla, Shaw helped to establish and manage a program to help families affected by drug abuse, domestic violence, and homelessness by providing food, clothing, hygiene products, and advice on how to access resources from the state.
Read Huerta’s cease-and-desist letter to Students Matter. State of California, however, after the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Federation of Teachers, as well as California Governor Jerry Brown, and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, immediately filed an appeal, denouncing the decision as “without support in law or fact.” On February 25, Vergara headed back to court. For more information visit cta.org/Vergara. We’re with them day in and day out and we know what they need. Breakfast Pizza No More: New Legislation Tackles Unhealthy Fare By Cindy Long April 8, 2010 — When British chef and healthy eating advocate Jamie Oliver brought his hit TV — April 7, 2010 • By Cynthia Long — Corporate interests do not.” “Students would be really hurt if these statutes are overturned,” added CTA President Eric C. Parents like Martha Sanchez, whose children attend Los Angeles Unified School District schools, aren’t fooled. “Any lawsuit that tries to remove those rights, claiming that this is the reason why students don’t have the best education possible, was written by people who either don’t know what happens in schools or who wish harm to public education,” Sanchez remarked to reporters last week. After the trial court decision in 2014, support for fair treatment of California’s teachers poured in from across the state and nationwide.
Sherry’s drive and dedication to making sure her students start and finish the school day on a positive note serves as a reminder of just how important education support professionals are as members of the education team, helping students succeed and achieve.” More than 2 million school support staff work in the nation’s public school systems, with more than 75 percent living, shopping and voting in the school communities in which they work. We are the true advocates for our students. The National Education Association also filed an amicus brief, urging the court to restore to California Legislature the prerogative to make educational policy by striking down the Vergara ruling. In these cases, is there any meaningful difference between a hoax, myth, rumor or an outright lie? Not really, because they all serve to discredit and undermine, regardless of intent.