Three Harrison County teachers are traveling to Chicago today to attend the 138th annual convention of the National Education Association.
Norma Taylor, media specialist at South Harrison High School, Page Adams, fourth-grade teacher at Big Elm Elementary School and Jackie Romeo, fifth-grade teacher at Nutter Fort Intermediate, were all elected by members of the Harrison County Education Association to join 10,000 other voting delegates for the convention that runs Monday through Thursday.
Taylor serves as president of the HCEA, Adams is the treasurer and Romeo is the organization's membership chair.
The national delegates represent more than 2.5 million teachers, retired educators, higher education faculty, administrators and service personnel from bus drivers to cafeteria workers.
Taylor said delegates this year will focus on a number of issues, including increasing teacher salaries, school safety and improving low-performing schools.
The NEA also endorses political candidates, and has already come out in favor of Vice President Al Gore in the upcoming presidential election.
"We endorsed Gore because he's for reducing class sizes and hiring more teachers and building more schools," Taylor said.
George W. Bush supports school choice through a voucher system and favors merit raises, two things the NEA doesn't support, she said.
"Bush wants parents to choose where their children go to school, whether public or private, but I'm for public education where everyone has the same chances," Taylor said.
On the issue of merit raises, Taylor said that people should get paid for what they do, but her concern is for who decides about the raises.
"Merit raises are a good idea, but it depends on who decides a teacher's performance, and not everyone can be objective. And if you have one bad day and happen to be evaluated on that day, it could hurt your chances," she said.
Staff writer Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447.