Thursday, October 23, 2008

Together, we can make a difference for students and public education!

ISEA members played a key role in kicking off the 2008 Presidential race and now you are uniquely poised to play a role in determining who is elected on Nov. 4.

Public school educators have been near the top of the list of America's most admired spokespersons for decades; and according to the Harris polling firm, teachers' grades among the nation's "most admired professions" have improved by an average of 23 percentage points over the past 15 years. Our Association's 3.2 million members (more than 33,000 right here in Iowa) live in every state, in every Congressional district, and in every precinct. In fact, there is one Association member among every 100 Americans.

Remember what is at stake in this election. No Child Left Behind at the national level, making sure the promises to reaching 25th in salaries for K-12 teachers are kept, that community college faculty get to 25th and that support professionals are allowed to use the recently enacted Iowa law to fight for a competitive living wage.

You can truly make a difference. That's why it's time once again for ISEA members to take the lead and do their homework to find out how the candidates stand on education issues. Click on the links below to get started.
Compare each parties platform on education to see who best supports you:

Iowa Republican Party plaform
Iowa Democratic Party platform

Download a listing of ISEA's recommended candidates
Iowa Secretary of State voter information
Visit NEA's Education Votes Web site and Blogs

ISEA members should login to our Members-Only Education Votes Web site for even more information about how you can make a difference on Election Day!

Vote early!
One of the benefits of voting early is that your name will be removed from phone lists and you won't receive election-related phone calls from now until November 4. In addition to voting by mail, a number of counties have early voting at satellite locations open most of October. You can also go to their local auditors office and vote. Check the Web pages below for evening and Saturday hours.

Copy of the official absentee ballot that may be reproduced
County Auditors List

Absentee Ballot Information
Voter/Election Information is a new, one-stop, voter registration site that lets you do it all--check your registration status, register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and find your early voting site or polling location. Please take the time to check it out and encourage your family to do the same.

House races are key to control of legislature
Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a district-by-district fight in their quest for the majority in the closely divided Iowa House. Democrats currently hold a 53-47 advantage in the House. With all 100 House seats on the ballot this year, Democrats have 49 members seeking re-election; Republicans have 38 incumbents running again. In the Senate, Democrats hold a sizable 30-20 margin, with half the Senate's seats on the ballot this year. To see how candidates voted on issues related to education go to:

2008 Iowa House Vote Record
2008 Iowa Senate Vote Record
2008 Iowa Vote Record Key

Senator Harkin requests input on school nutrition program
In 2009, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will write legislation to update and extend federal child nutrition programs such as the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, and the Summer Food Service Program. In preparation for this effort, Senator Harkin seeks the advice and expertise of those who interact with federal school nutrition programs every day. Please send your ideas to Derek Miller on the staff of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry by e-mail at or by mail in care of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry at 328A Russell Office Building, Washington DC 20510.

Volunteer for ISEA-recommended candidates
Did you know you can win prizes for working just a few hours for ISEA-recommended candidates? Prizes like an gift certificate, a DVD player, or Des Moines theater tickets and a hotel package.

Join the Grass Roots Education Action Team (G.R.E.A.T.). Work three or more hours for an ISEA-recommended candidate. Then submit an "I HELPED" card or report your hours using our online form--the more hours you volunteer, the greater your chance of winning prizes! A drawing will be held December 2nd. As an added bonus the first 200 members to sign up will receive a free gift!

Texas Hurricane Ike relief fund
During our time of need, individuals and state affiliates from around the country generously gave to ISEA's Disaster Relief Fund and we are grateful for their support. Now it's our turn to give back. Over 9,000 Texas State Teacher Association (TSTA) members are in areas hit by Hurricane Ike. Anyone wishing to send a contribution to help members in Texas may do so by sending a check to the TSTA Hurricane Ike Relief Fund, 216 W. 12th Street, Austin, TX 78701.

ISEA awards nominations open
The ISEA sponsors a number of awards to honor members and others who work to make a difference for public education. Applying for our awards is easy. Download a nomination form or flyer here.

Plan now for American Education Week Nov 16-22
American Education Week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. Use the online tookit at to plan and promote each day of the week.