joanne_mccall_new_headshotIf you are like me you have been bombarded with TV and radio ads as well as print media. It is ridiculous the amount of money that is spent on political campaigns. However, that is the system we have and if you are going to reach the voter you must spend the coin.

I want everyone to lean in and really listen to what I am about to say:

ELECTIONS matter from the schoolhouse to the state house to the White House! This is not about Republican vs. Democrat, this is about us vs. them: public schools vs. voucher/for profit charter schools. Every single teacher and education staff professional should have been engaged and voted on primary day – August 30. Each and every one of us should have voted like our job, our profession depended on it — because it does!

If just our members turned out for the primary election they could change the outcome of school board and superintendent races across this state.

If just our members turned out with one family member we could ensure that our recommended candidates for state Senate and state House of Representatives would be elected. (Ed. Note: Information on endorsed candidates, constitutional amendment recommendations and more can be found at

And if just our members and one family member turned out to vote we could ensure the White House is not won by a person that does not have the knowledge, skills, experience or temperament to be president of the United States.

We are actively involved in this election cycle like never before. The Fair Districts constitutional amendment passed in 2010 gives us great hope and opportunity. It gives us a chance with EVERY Senate and House seat up for grabs to elect people who truly care about public education and not vouchers and for-profit charter schools. The time is now: If we do not capitalize on our opportunities then Fair Districts will have been for naught.

By the time you are reading this the primary will have concluded and the dust will be settling but that means we must evaluate where we are to rally around the right candidates.

The FEA does not recommend candidates lightly, quite the contrary. Since I have taken office 11 months ago it has been the mission of the three officers to be very strategic in this election cycle. We will only recommend candidates who share our vision and purpose for public education, have data and polling and are electable candidates. We will not be supporting or sending resources to people just because they are a member, or just because they are nice people or just because they belong to a particular party. The candidates we recommend will have the ability to raise money, show polling by credible sources that they have the ability to be elected and that they share our beliefs on public education.

When you see a recommendation from FEA it will be based on that information — not their views on any other subject. We believe if they are right on public schools and can help us change the message and dynamic, the rest of the issues will follow along.

I want to express the importance of being active this election season. It does matter and your vote can and will make the difference!

We are in this for the long haul – this will not conclude with the 2016 election cycle. We must capture as many Senate seats and House seats as possible in 2016 with people that care about public schools, then work the 2017 and 2018 legislative sessions. Stay engaged with our long-term focus for the 2018 election cycle to pick up more Senate seats, House seats and the Governor’s Mansion with people who care about public schools.

This will start to change the dynamic and atmosphere in Tallahassee to begin to undo all the harm that SB 736 has caused. This will give us the HOPE and OPPORTUNITY to take back our state, our profession and our public schools.

I believe! Do you?