On 31 January, a pleasant but still chilly day, I took part in Lobby Day at the Unicameral, something new for me, serving as a member of the NSEA (Nebraska State Educational Association) Legislative Contact Team. Around a hundred teachers from across the state gathered in the capitol rotunda to talk with State Senators about Education in Nebraska.
I enjoyed the experience, getting to meet teachers from across the state and some of our State Senators, including Senator Dave Pankonin and Senator Gail Kopplin--my own Senator, Senator Levan Heidemann was excused for the day, but I look forward to talking with him soon.
I did not realize the extent to which higher salaries in Iowa and Wyoming in particular bleed the state of talent. While we enjoy a very high reputation in the nation for what our elementary and high schools attain, teachers' salaries sit at 43rd in the nation--and they are dropping; starting salaries rank 47th.
I enjoyed a great deal looking at the busts of those people inducted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame, including Mari Sandoz, whose sculpture I include here.
Anyway, I look forward to learning more and posted a few pictures of the day here, including our lunch with State Senators Kopplin and Pankonin.
And while I have taught at Peru State College for fifteen years and visited the NEA building many, many times on union-related business, until yesterday, I had never stepped inside the beautiful capitol building.
The murals inside are stunning, and as previously noted, Nebraska State Hall of Fame busts line various halls. Impressive.
I also stood in the gallery and listened to Ernie Chambers speak about a bill, though not about LB 1100, a bill in committee that seeks to elevate salaries for teachers across Nebraska. The debate will, to be sure, prove interesting.
Next time, I will take the tour. Again, I posted a brief slide show and enjoyed a great deal lunch at the Embassy Suites with legislators, union officials, and educators.