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AEA opposes insurance hike, corporal punishment

Sheila Remington is president of Alabama Education Association. CONTRIBUTED
Sheila Remington is president of Alabama Education Association. CONTRIBUTED
MONTGOMERY – Almost 800 members of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) gathered for the annual AEA Delegate Assembly on Dec. 2.
Held at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery, the conference served as a time to discuss, debate and set AEA’s 2017 business and legislative agenda. Local educators elect delegates to represent school communities.
Beverly Sims represents Madison City Schools and Madison County Schools (District 3) for AEA. Sims formerly taught at Hazel Green High School.
“AEA represents teachers, post-secondary administrators, students preparing to become educators, retirees and support personnel,” AEA President Sheila Remington told “The Madison Record” in a telephone interview.
In conference business, Sen. Gerald Dial discussed recent increases in the health insurance program for school employees. “The rate increase hurt very much for our bus drivers and cafeteria workers,” Remington said.
For the first time in nine years, Alabama school employees recently received a salary increase. “People were feeling good, but the TRS Board (handling the teacher retirement system and insurance) raised insurance rates,” Remington said.
For some employees, especially bus drivers and cafeteria workers, “the increase took away the raise and left them with less money than before the raise,” Remington said. AEA has filed suit against the board for allegedly violating the open meeting law, she said.
In other business, the delegate assembly passed a resolution to ban corporal punishment, which is a stricter stand for the association.
“This year, we took that position because best practices in education tell us that corporal punishment doesn’t work. Currently, 29 states forbid it, and most systems in Alabama don’t use it,” Remington said.
“There are better ways for classroom discipline than corporal punishment,” she said.
During assemblies, AEA delegates pass resolutions for desired objectives. If the resolution passes for three consecutive years, it becomes a part of AEA’s platform that the organization endorses. One example is AEA’s opposition to the ‘one-time test’ that No Child Left Behind mandated to determine student success.
AEA is closely monitoring the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “The new, national law for education is really changing things. in the past, everything was top heavy with federal regulations. ESSA … involves community members, employees and students for local control,” she said.
For example, “Madison may need something totally different from Tuscaloosa,” Remington said.
For more information, visit alaedu.org.

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