Noah Hess Reporter
Kansas National Education Association Aspiring Educators program known as KNEA AE, is a student chapter to help support and provide development for students in or around the education field. KNEA AE is a part of the National Education Association which makes up the biggest teaching union in the nation.
All KNEA AE provides access to privileges and resources to students that their professional colleagues use.
“The same privileges that your professional colleagues in schools get. KNEA provides professional development, practical support in the form of dedicated travel and shopping discounts, and a network of educational professionals from around the state.” said KNEA AE advisor, Mark Diacopoulos.
KNEA also provides legal advice to every student Diacopoulos said.
“Every KNEA member, including aspiring educators are automatically provided with indemnity insurance and have access to legal advice should an issue arise in a school setting. As our education majors are often on placement, this is useful as a means of protection. In the current anti-teacher climate, it doesn’t take much for things to get out of hand. It is helpful to have peace of mind,” Diacopoulos said.
With KNEA AE being a part of the National Education Association union KNEA will also negotiate salary.
“KNEA works on behalf of teachers, and faculty here at PSU, to bargain with administration over pay and working conditions. Most school districts in Kansas use a contract agreed and ratified by the district administration, and the local KNEA unit… this giving teacher a voice. Faculty here at PSU are represented by KNEA who work on contract, pay, and address grievances should they arise, ‘Diacopoulos said.
Tori Poyner junior in early childhood education and vice president of the organization said she values the program as a place to find other people with similar values.
“KNEA is a place to find like-minded people. Those who join want what’s best for their future students,” Poyner said.
KNEA AE meets each year at conferences in the fall and spring to network,
“It is here that Aspiring Educators (and their advisors) meet other aspiring educators from around the state. They engage in professional development and select members to represent the state at other events, such as the Representative Assembly where all the state chapters meet to democratically agree positions and policies, as well as National Representative Assembly, and national conferences. Aspiring Educators have a strong voice within the NEA and KNEA as a whole, it is not unusual for AE members to be at the forefront of policy suggestions.” Diacopoulos said.
These conferences are chances for students to connect with others who wish to be teachers, Kay Kraybill, senior in technology education and president of the KNEA AE
commented on the conferences, “The aspiring educators fall, and spring conferences are chances for being together with others who want to be teachers. It includes networking opportunities with other aspiring educators, teacher panels, a talk from the national president of NEA-AE, resources for future teachers, and a free tee shirt, free food, and hotel and gas expenses reimbursed,” Kraybill said.
For those interested in KNEA AE more information can be found on Gorilla Engage. Students are welcome to join in on meetings. The organization is always looking for new members said Clarissa Worley sophomore in Family and Consumer Sciences and secretary for KNAE AE
“We always want new members to expand our community in Pittsburg, it’s a great way to bounce things off each other,” Worley said.
The next meeting for KNEA AE is Nov. 30 at 6:15 p.m, located in 213 in Hughes Hall.