Don’t Sit This One Out

This election season is certainly generating some strong feelings – including a feeling expressed by many that they’re so fed up, they’re not even going to vote this year. But if you’re one of those people who is thinking about sitting this election out, we have two words for you:


We’ve pointed this out before, but it bears repeating: one of the biggest reasons we’re in this mess (APPR, Tax Cap, Common Core, etc.etc.) is that our elected officials do not take us seriously. And one reason for that is that we don’t fully flex our strength at the ballot box. Not enough of us vote.

Journalists always make reference to the “powerful” teachers union, with the implication that this supposed power comes from huge piles of cash we throw at politicians. But that’s just wrong. Whatever power we have comes not from money (we are far outspent by charter schools and other special interests), but from our numbers. Teachers make up a sizable chunk of the population and our voices deserve to be heard – that is the very definition of democracy. But if we don’t ALL vote then we are not only losing power, we are shirking our responsibility to ourselves, our students, and to public education as an institution.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. Please make sure you vote. And to truly make the most of this election, here are some things you can do:

NYSUT is asking all members to take a pledge to vote. If you know your NYSUT Member number or have a NYSUT login, please use this link to take the pledge. If you don’t have a NYSUT login or don’t know your member number, you can take the pledge by using this link.

If anyone in your family is over 18 but is not yet registered to vote, it’s not too late; the deadline is October 14th. Registration can be done online by clicking here.

Phone banks are being set up to help get out the vote, and we very much need volunteers. Calls will be made from the Riverhead Teachers Association office on Monday 10/17 and Thursday 10/27. If you can spare even a few minutes on either of those days, please reply to let us know. If you’d like to make calls but neither of those dates work, please let me know that also, as there may be other opportunities.

Rob Verbeck
SWRTA Corresponding Secretary

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