Celebrating 45 Years of Teacher Freedom in Georgia

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Kudos to our friends of Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), for providing the Peach State’s teachers with 45 years of professional association.   One of the first nonunion independent teacher groups in the country, PAGE shares a birth year with CEAFU.  Their work providing Georgia educators with a choice for professional association has led PAGE to hold the largest membership numbers of all Georgia teacher groups.

In his article, “Turning a new PAGE” Roger Hines relates PAGE’s history and growth on mjdonline.

With the help of my wife, our kitchen table, and Star Printing in the city of Acworth, I was privileged to be in on the early life of an idea. While not present at its birth in 1975, Nancy and I labored energetically to nurse the idea along by producing its newspaper, PAGE ONE, during the 1977-78 school year.

Neither Nancy nor I have had a single course in journalism. It helped that at the time, I subscribed to seven newspapers which I intently read and studied. To keep PAGE ONE going, I secured articles from others who were also nursing the idea and always added one of my own since I was the editor. I laugh to think that my name appeared by the word, “editor,” but when you believe in something, you’ll pitch in and do whatever you’re asked to do.

The idea we 90 or so educators were nursing was a new professional organization for Georgia educators. No longer could we follow the National Education Association and its local “unified” affiliate, the Georgia Association of Educators. We wanted to teach and be a team with our administrators and parents. In our view teacher strikes, collective bargaining and union rabble-rousing did not produce the effect we desired. Such unionist tactics were a growing part of the educational landscape across the nation.

Thus, our fledgling brainchild. The Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) was born on May 17, 1975, with 22 charter members. Rejecting unionism’s adversarial relationship between classroom teachers and administrators, these 22 teachers and administrators forged an educational association that vowed to place children and taxpayers, not teacher unions, at the center of public education. To PAGE’s founders, threats, walkouts, and sick-outs did not produce what was needed, namely every level of the education profession working together.

After leaving NEA and joining PAGE in 1976, I learned that two educators from DeKalb County, Lillian Cantrell and Paul Copeland, were the main drivers in the formation of PAGE. …