Why Your Association Matters

Late Night host David Letterman doesn’t have a lock on his famous ‘Top Ten’ listing! Members of the Columbus Education Association recently developed a ‘Top 10 Reasons Why CEA Matters.’ The list was shared at the initial meeting of Columbus educators at the beginning of the school year, and CEA President Lori Focher shared the list with NSEA.

The list:

Top 10 Reasons Why CEA Matters


No. 1: CEA is the Professional Organization for Educators

It’s a professional organization built by and for educators. When I think about all the different organizations I am active in, it just makes sense to belong to one that is a community of educators – about 3 million across the United States – who all believe in providing a great public education for every student.


No. 2: Liability Insurance

Being a member comes with a $1 million liability insurance policy. Just like I wouldn’t go without insurance for my car, house, or health, I won’t go without insurance for my profession; a profession I have devoted four-plus years of schooling to achieve. While I don’t ever plan to make a claim, I feel better knowing it’s there if I need it – just like all my other insurance policies.


No. 3: Employment Support

If I ever have a question or concern about something happening with my job, I know help is just a phone call or email away. I can call my Uniserv director at any time and know that he is there for me, working to protect my rights, assist with grievances, and answer any question I may have.


No. 4: Legal Support

Even though this something I never plan to use, I know that should a situation arise where legal help is needed I have access to attorneys that specialize in educational law and my legal costs are covered.

 No. 5: The Negotiations Team

What would we do without them? Because I receive the benefits of the work this team does each year for my salary and other fringe benefits, I feel joining my professional Association is the right thing to do. But just think, what would it be like if we didn’t have the association and the negotiations team? What would our contract look like? As a member, the team asks for my input on what should be negotiated each year and I get to vote on the acceptance of that agreement. I can even be a part of that essential team.


No. 6: A Voice

CEA gives me the opportunity to work with my colleagues to cause changes and improvements in working conditions. If there is an issue, we can approach it collectively.

No. 7: NSEA Children’s Fund

Did you know that the NSEA Children’s fund can be used by any CEA member to assist students in need of things like clothing, glasses, dental work or medicine. All it takes is a phone call to get approval, then the member pays for what is needed and sends in the receipt, and within 48 hours the member is reimbursed.


No. 8: Political Support

NSEA and NEA provide a watchful eye in the Legislature and work to protect the rights of educators. For example, just this spring NSEA fought for the passage of LB553 which protects our employee retirement plan and ensures its solvency for years to come. I appreciate that kind of support – what would have happened had NSEA not been there? NSEA and NEA are committed to informing me on candidates running for office. While I may not always agree with the candidates that NSEA and NEA choose to endorse, I know that my dues dollars are never used to support candidates.


No. 9: The Giving Heart of CEA

CEA has a long history of giving back with scholarships for CHS graduates going into the field of education and gifts for the Top 10 percent of the graduating class. CEA has supported the needs of the community and in recent years, CEA has made donations to the Holiday Spirit Co-op, the CMS bond issue, and the CPS Foundation. CEA also made a large donation to the American Red Cross following Hurricane Sandy and most recently to the Oklahoma Education Association’s Tornado Relief fund for teachers to reestablish their classrooms.


No. 10: Legacy

For four decades the members of the Columbus Education Association have worked to ensure great working conditions and a fair contract. If you are a member, please take an active role in making this the best association it can be. If you are currently not a member, please consider joining your professional association. It is our turn to build this association, not just for us, but for the future teachers of our district, who together with us provide a quality public education for our Columbus students.