Teacher Tom Endorses Jesse Hagopian for SEA President

This month, the Seattle Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union is electing a new president and it’s time for a change. In an era in which public schools, students, and teachers are under attack, current union leadership has taken an unacceptably soft, conciliatory approach. I am joining newly elected school board member Sue Peters in endorsing Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian. As an activist teacher, Mr. Hagopian first came to my attention as one of the leaders of last year’s walk out of the controversial standardized MAP test, a protest that made national headlines and brought teachers, students, and parents together in a stand against the corporate assault on public education. He is currently a union representative at Garfield, has served as the Black Student Union’s faculty adviser, is an associate editor of the acclaimedRethinking Schools magazine, the recipient of the 2012 Abe Keller Foundation award for “excellence and innovation in peace education,” a 2013 Secondary Teacher of the Year nominee by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, and is a founding member of Social Equality Educators.

Hagopian is a well-informed, well-spoken, and clearly dedicated educator. He will make an outstanding union president, one who will not stand down in this time when standing up is the most important thing we can do. Below is an interview from last May with the great Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!

As institutions, our public schools are under attack from billionaires who would privatize the whole thing. As a profession, teaching is under attack from billionaires who would reduce teaching to low wage test proctors who are appropriate targets for pies to the face. And as a result, our children’s future is under attack from billionaires who see them as their next crop of cubicle fodder. The only way to successfully and democratically push back against those with deep pockets is to come together as teachers, parents, and students: numbers beats money, but only if the numbers turn out. In Seattle, it’s happening behind the leadership of dedicated teachers like Jesse Hagopian, and this is how it will happen across the country, one state, one school district, sometimes even one school at a time.

If there is a Jesse Hagopian where you live, support him. If there is not, find him or be him. To donate or to learn more about the campaign, click here or check out his blog, I Am An Educator.


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