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Quality Service It’s a CREA Basic!. Our Mission: Improve the professional status of members Promote and protect the integrity of the teaching profession Support educators’ efforts to improve student achievement and welfare. T. I. P. ping the scale for Education Professionals. “T” = Training

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quality service it s a crea basic
Quality ServiceIt’s a CREA Basic!

Our Mission:

  • Improve the professional status of members
  • Promote and protect the integrity of the teaching profession
  • Support educators’ efforts to improve student achievement and welfare
t i p ping the scale for education professionals
T. I. P. ping the scale forEducation Professionals

“T” = Training

“I” = Information

“P” = Protection

Quality Service

It’s a CREA Basic!

the features of membership
The Features of Membership
  • Support For Your Professional Organization
  • Financial Rewards
  • Advocacy Protections
  • Opportunities for Professional Growth
  • Networking with Colleagues and Educators
  • Information on Hot Topics
support for your professional organization
Support For Your Professional Organization
  • Educators Have the NEA
  • Goal Area 1: Improve the Professional Status of Members
  • Goal Area 2: Promote & Protect the Integrity of the Profession
  • Goal Area 3: Enhance Educator’s Efforts to Improve Student Achievement & Welfare
support for your professional organization educators have the nea
Support For Your Professional OrganizationEducators have the NEA

Doctors have the AMA

Lawyers have the Bar Association

Educators have the NEA

NEA is the National Education Association. The Iowa affiliate of NEA is the ISEA, Iowa State Education Association. The local affiliates of NEA/ISEA are the CREA and CROTA, Cedar Rapids Education Association and Cedar Rapids Organization of Teacher Associates. Together, the NEA, ISEA and CREA/CROTA are working to improve public education at all levels.

financial rewards
Financial Rewards
  • Bargaining Salary and Insurance Benefits
  • Credit Card-Money Market-CDs & More
  • Auto-Home-Life Insurance Programs
  • Member Access Discount Card
  • Early Separation-PEHP-IPERS
  • Scholarships
  • Teacher Store
financial rewards bargaining salary insurance benefits
Financial RewardsBargaining Salary & Insurance Benefits

The CREA/CROTA are the exclusive bargaining representatives for the teachers and teacher associates in Cedar Rapids. No other group or organization can negotiate improvements and/or changes in your salary and benefits.

CREA and CROTA bargain salary, benefits and contract language changes every year. Both contracts have adopted an innovative salary schedule that rewards employees for seeking higher levels of education and training.

Only members have input into contract changes. Only members can vote on what modifications to accept or reject to the contract.

financial rewards credit card money market cds more
Financial RewardsCredit Card – Money Market – CDs & More

NEA Member Benefits sponsors several credit card programs, including a travel rewards program that gives you airline miles for every dollar you spend. The miles can be used on any airline and there are no blackout periods or restrictions on usage. Travel reward points can also be used for car rentals. NEA’s credit card programs have low interest rates and no annual fee.

NEA Value Builder program offers money market investment opportunities, counseling and account management. NEA’s money market offers one of the best return rates for your investment. You can use direct deposit and payroll deduction to add to your account. You are given checks to use for this account. They work like a regular checking account and you can make up to six withdrawals per month from this FDIC insured account.

NEA’s CD program has one of the highest interest rates offered. Call 1-800-637-4636 to check out current rates. It pays to compare!

NEA has a mortgage program that refunds some of the fees associated with buying a home to members after the mortgage has closed.

ISEA is a partner in the Linn Area Credit Union who offers cash incentives and Teacher Bucks for members who use their banking services.

financial rewards auto home life insurance programs
Financial RewardsAuto – Home – Life Insurance Programs

With your membership, and at no additional cost to you, you automatically are enrolled for NEA’s Dues Tab insurance. Dues Tab is an accidental death and dismemberment policy that will pay you a benefit if you become totally or partially disabled as a result of an injury and will pay a benefit to your beneficiary if you become deceased. Your Dues Tab benefit amount increases with each year of consecutive membership in NEA and any of it’s affiliates.

NEA Member Benefits has auto, home and life insurance programs at very reduced prices for members. One of our teacher associate members reported to us that her family saved over $160 per month by purchasing their auto insurance policy from NEA. Horace Mann is also an NEA endorsed company that offers discounted insurance programs to members.

NEA Member Benefits also offers long term care and Medicare supplement insurance options.

financial rewards member access discount card
Financial RewardsMember Access Discount Card

Member Access is a program from ISEA. It offers members access to a secured web site that details hundreds of discounts available to members. Members take advantage of these discounts by presenting their Access card or by printing coupons from the web site. Discounts may be as much as 50% and include golf, hotels, cruises, condos, resorts, eye care, shopping, restaurants, theme parks, entertainment, health products, auto services, hair cuts, high adventure, whitewater rafting, ski and snowboarding, all-inclusive vacations, and much, much more! In addition, CREA/CROTA has added local businesses who offer even more discount opportunities to our members. Check www.creaonline.org for a list of local merchants who accept our Access card.

financial rewards early separation pehp ipers
Financial RewardsEarly Separation – PEHP – IPERS

CREA has negotiated a generous and exceptional early separation benefit. It is one of only a very few in the state and certainly the best program! Teachers who qualify for early separation leave with 105 – 190 days severance and insurance benefits that continue until they are eligible for Medicare. You earn the increased severance above 105 days by saving personal illness days during your employment.

CREA started the first teacher PEHP plan in the state. PEHP is a Post Employment Health Plan. The District makes a monthly contribution in your name into a tax-protected trust fund. The fund is yours and you control the investment of your account. When you leave employment with the District, either by retiring or changing jobs, you can draw the money out of your PEHP for all approved medical expenses. This benefit, combined with early separation allows teachers to choose when they want to retire!

ISEA has three full-time lobbyists who continue to work with the Iowa legislature to improve our state retirement program, IPERS. IPERS has been lauded as one of the best state retirement systems in the nation, so we know we’re doing a good job!

financial rewards scholarships
Financial RewardsScholarships

NEA, ISEA, CREA and Horace Mann all offer scholarships for higher education to the children of our members. Watch for details on how to apply for those scholarships in your Association publications!

teacher store
Teacher Store
  • CREA, in partnership with the Linn Area Credit Union has opened a Teacher Store at 606 5th Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids. The Teacher Store is a legal charitable organization where businesses and individuals can donate new and/or good used classroom supplies and equipments. Businesses and individuals who make donations receive a tax deduction receipt. Teachers are provided with “Teacher Bucks” to use for purchases at the Teacher Store. Teacher Bucks are available from the Association leadership team, the Linn Area Credit Union and will soon be available from the local Teacher Quality Committees. Inventory at the Teacher Store varies but has included crayons, glue, scissors, tape, staples, dispensers for tape and staples, rulers, markers, pens, pencils, paper, bulletin board supplies and borders, books, games, toys, clorox wipes, paper towels, kleenex, hand sanitizer, creative items and much, much more! The Teacher Store is open during the school year from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday and on Saturdays from 10-2 p.m.
  • Resolution Team
  • Representation
  • Bargaining
  • Lobbying
  • Legal Program
  • Mentoring
  • Access to Resources
  • Promoting Quality Education
  • Having a Voice/Vote/Input
advocacy resolution team
Advocacy Resolution Team

The Resolution Team consists of the President of CREA, CREA’s Chair of the Contract Maintenance Committee, our UniServ Director, the District Associate Superintendent, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Executive Director for Elementary Education, the Executive Director for Secondary Education and the Executive Director for Special Services. Other Administrators and specialists are invited to meet with the team when a concern related to their area of expertise is being discussed.

The purpose of the Resolution Team is to solve problems at the lowest level and in the most timely fashion possible. The team meets monthly to discuss concerns and issues and problem solve solutions. Concerns may be brought to the team by team members, administrators, teachers, educational support employees, the school board, parents, students, etc. Nothing is considered “off limits.”

A major emphasis of Resolution Team is the intervention aspect which is used to provide support and resources for teachers and/or teacher associates in need of assistance.

Reports from Resolution Team are shared monthly with the CREA Executive Board, Faculty Reps, Principals and District Administrators. All personnel specific information and building identification is kept confidential.

The Resolution Team does have the authority to waive or extend certain provisions of the master contract, including personal and family illness leave of absences.

advocacy representation

All members of the bargaining unit (both CREA and CROTA) have basic representation to assure that the contract is not being violated.

CREA/CROTA members receive a much higher level of service and representation, including access to all the resources of the NEA/ISEA/CREA and CROTA.

NEA is the only professional organization that pays to have a local representative available to their members. Our representative in Cedar Rapids is our UniServ (NEA’s term for Service Unit) Director, Kathy Krehbiel. Our UniServ Directors are backed up with a full team of experts including research specialists, lawyers, state and federal lobbyists, budget and finance experts and highly-qualified trainers in almost all areas of teaching and learning.

advocacy bargaining

CREA and CROTA’s bargaining teams are empowered to negotiate changes to the master contract, including salaries, benefits, working conditions, contract language, early separation, etc.

The teacher’s bargaining team includes representation from every level – elementary, middle school, secondary and specials. The President of CROTA, chairs the teacher associate bargaining team which also includes representation from the levels identified above. The bargaining teams both have resource members including the CREA President, the chairs of the Contract Maintenance and Contract Advancement Committees and the UniServ Director.

The bargaining teams seek input from the CREA Executive Board, the Faculty Reps and the Committees for Contract Maintenance and Contract Advancement. The contract committees members from both CREA and CROTA insure that the two contracts maintain a high level of consistency.

Both CREA and CROTA’s contract are “living language” meaning that all parts of the contract are open to negotiation and change at all times! This gives our association the unique ability to respond to changes from the legislature, school board, association members, etc.

advocacy lobbying
Advocacy Lobbying

Every decision that affects education is a political decision. This reality has made it absolutely necessary for all education employees to keep our state and federal legislators informed about the impact and consequences of their decisions on our students.

CREA/CROTA members are kept highly-informed about issues being debated and decided at the legislature through our “Hotline” publication and association newsletters from NEA, ISEA and CREA. This helps members be able to construct and deliver highly effective letters, emails, phone calls and personal contacts to the appropriate political decision-makers.

ISEA employs three full-time lobbyists who help coordinate and focus our efforts. The Political Action Committee (PAC) of ISEA receives support through a state dues check-off. Members may choose not to participate in PAC. NEA’s PAC is supported through member’s individual direct contributions, not through dues or payroll deduction. Our local PAC representatives organize interviews with candidates for political office. The participants at these local interviews make recommendations to the state PAC on who should receive our support and where we should channel our efforts and campaign assistance. Interview teams are balanced with equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters. Questions asked at the interview are directed at education issues. Our local and state PAC teams provide information to our members on who they believe will be the best education representatives in the state and federal legislatures and high political offices.

advocacy legal program
AdvocacyLegal Program

In the event that a teacher or teacher associate member becomes involved in a work-related dispute, the association provides representation and legal assistance. This includes grievances, complaints from parents or students, law suits, criminal allegations, challenges of termination or discipline and disputes involving disability, unemployment, worker’s compensation, alleged abuse or licensure suspension, revocation or denial.

Non-members frequently believe that the Association has to equally represent them for all the actions listed above. That is a BIG misunderstanding. The Association’s responsibility to non-members extends only to enforcement of the contract! Services that are not provided to non members include representation or legal help for parent complaints, staff complaints, student complaints, workers comp issues, licensure issues, unemployment issues, harassment, injury, damages, abuse, misuse of funds, insubordination, discipline, separation and discharge – just to name a few!

The Association also provides members with access and reduced fees for attorney services for non job-related actions such as establishment of a living will, a last will and testament, divorce, estate actions, real-estate transactions, adoption, custody, etc.

advocacy mentoring

The state has dictated a mentoring and induction program for first and second year teachers. Through cooperation between CREA and the District, a position was created for a Facilitator of Mentoring and Induction. Currently, CREA Executive Board member, Beth Hieronymus serves in that capacity. This commitment to ensuring the success of beginning teachers is unique in the state.

CREA President, Tammy Wawro worked cooperatively with the University of Iowa to develop the E-Portfolio program. This program is available through the internet and can assist a beginning teacher, or even a more experienced teacher involved in this type of evaluation, to collect the artifacts that will result in an excellent professional portfolio of their work.

Resolution Team has been provided the authority and resources to retain mentors for more experienced teachers identified as needing assistance.

advocacy access to resources
AdvocacyAccess to Resources

Members have unlimited access to all the resources of NEA, ISEA, Cedar Wood UniServ Unit, CREA, and CROTA. Concerns can be expressed and issues raised directly through the Association Rep(s) at each building, or by contacting any of the Association’s officers and leaders, including the UniServ Director. All levels of the Association function as a true democracy. CREA and CROTA send delegates to both the National and State decision-making assemblies.

The Association publications including NEA Today, ISEA Communiqué, and CREA On The Edge just to name a few, contain the best and most up-to-date information about what is happening in the field of education. Additionally, the Association’s resources can be accessed by members through the internet. Check out www.creaonline.org


advocacy promoting quality education
AdvocacyPromoting Quality Education

ISEA and NEA’s public service announcements can frequently be seen and heard on the networks and local television and radio stations. Our advertising is seen in internal and external, national and local newspapers and magazines. Members and leaders are frequently featured in print and media interviews and documentaries.

NEA and ISEA sponsor programs and there are many cooperative external ventures to recognize the achievement and excellence of educators. CREA provides member recognition during American Education Week and on National Teacher Day. CROTA celebrates their members on National Educational Support Professionals Day.

advocacy having a voice vote input
AdvocacyHaving a Voice/Vote/Input

Only members are allowed to vote on contract improvements and changes.

Members can raise an issue or concern and have it addressed and responded to at all levels of the Association. Non-members have no access through our networks.

CREA/CROTA has a representative on the Superintendent’s Cabinet and to School Board meetings and work sessions.

CREA/CROTA are active in the Chamber of Commerce.

professional growth development
Professional Growth & Development
  • Communications and Publications
  • Instruction and Professional Development Mini-Workshops
  • Conferences and Training
  • Mentoring and Evaluation
  • National Board Certification Support Group
  • Leadership Development
professional growth development communications and publications
Professional Growth & DevelopmentCommunications and Publications

On The Edge – CREA’s award winning bi-monthly newsletter focusing on local issues as well as informing members on state and national hot topics.

CREAonline.org – the Association’s official website includes issues of the newsletter and links to NEA, ISEA, the legislature, state departments and many other education sites. Also, your contract is available 24/7!

Communiqué – ISEA’s newspaper that is mailed to your home monthly.

NEA Today – The leading educational information paper, focusing on issues and current hot topics across the country and containing tips for educators, links to other educational sites, book reviews, etc.

ISEA Hotline – Almost daily up-to-date information on the political issues affecting education in the country, in Iowa and right here in Cedar Rapids.

professional growth development instruction professional development mini workshops
Professional Growth & DevelopmentInstruction & Professional Development Mini-Workshops

CREA’s IPD (Instruction and Professional Development) Committee annually sponsors mini-workshops on topics of interest to educators. Opportunities for training include sessions on student led conference preparation, teacher/paraeducator communications and team building, and legal issues for educators. Other available workshops include IEP’s and special education, the state standards and criteria, brain-based learning, and IPERS and retirement planning. Members are invited to suggest other workshop topics.

professional growth development conferences and training
Professional Growth & DevelopmentConferences and Training

Conference and training opportunities are offered throughout the year including NEA’s Midwest Regional Leadership Conference, National Conference on the Concerns of Women and Minorities, National ESP (Educational Support Professionals) Conference, NEA’s Midwest Regional Minority Conference, ISEA’s Legislative Conference, ESP Conference, Student Member Conference, Higher Education Conference, Retired Member Conference and Summer Leadership Conference, CREA’s Leadership Retreat and many other state and national workshops.

NEA, ISEA, CWUU (Cedar Wood UniServ Unit) and CREA/CROTA offer scholarships (and sometimes expenses also) for members to attend these various training programs. Watch for announcements of these opportunities in your Association publications.

professional growth development mentoring and evaluation
Professional Growth & DevelopmentMentoring and Evaluation

Although state law now requires mentors for first and second year teachers, growth opportunities are not limited to only beginning teachers. Veteran staff needing assistance can receive the benefit of a mentor through a request to the Resolution Team.

State law has also mandated that veteran teacher evaluations be in compliance with the standards and criteria. CREA’s bargaining team worked very hard, in conjunction with the District to create contractual evaluation language that is workable for both teachers and administrators.

It is important to note that career teachers in our system are not required to prepare a portfolio during their evaluation.

Additionally, the contracts for both CREA and CROTA provide three levels of support programs for employees needing assistance.

professional growth development national board paraeducator certification support groups
Professional Growth & DevelopmentNational Board/Paraeducator CertificationSupport Groups

As a result of CREA’s excellent bargaining, teachers who achieve National Board Certification (NBC) will receive a 5% salary increase. NBC teachers who recertify receive a second 5% salary increase.

CREA will sponsor a free cohort group to support members through the process. CREA’s NBC teachers will be facilitating this group. Watch for further information and announcements in your Association publications.

Excellent bargaining by CROTA has also led to a pay increase. Paraeducators who receive their State Paraeducator Certificate receive a 4% salary increase.

professional growth development leadership development
Professional Growth & DevelopmentLeadership Development

CREA offers members many opportunities for leadership and growth. We provide scholarships to many state and national conferences and workshops. Extra training opportunities are offered to CREA Association Reps at their monthly meetings. The CREA Executive Board, Committee Chairs and members all have access to more training and information and opportunities to practice and exhibit leadership skills. Many of the current administrators in our District are former Association members and leaders. Local leadership training includes a wide variety of topics including communication styles, mediation skills, education and the law, group process skills, dealing with difficult people, students’ rights, and teachers’ rights – just to mention a few!

  • Opportunities to Meet New People
  • Community Projects
  • Faculty Rep Assembly
  • Social Gatherings
  • Care & Share
  • Involvement with the School Board
  • Recognition for Educators
networking opportunities to meet new people
NetworkingOpportunities to Meet New People

Whether it is within your own building, district-wide, other area schools, the state urban network, within ISEA, nationally, or at one of our many web sites, CREA provides you with access and a tie to hundreds of education professionals just like yourself! Education conferences and workshops sponsored by the Association at the various levels provide wonderful opportunities for in-depth discussion of best practices in teaching, current educational issues, and tips on how best to survive and thrive in the teaching and learning profession.

With CREA’s many community involvement programs there are lots of opportunities to impact other organizations and groups. Some of our programs are public service projects that offer participants a warm feeling for helping those in need.

Watch your Association publications for opportunities to meet new people and contribute to your own professional growth and pride!

networking community projects
NetworkingCommunity Projects

CREA is involved in many human service and community outreach programs. Opportunities exist for you to be involved in:

* The Holiday Parade

* Big Brothers/Big Sisters – bowling fundraiser

* H.O. Maxey Memorial Food Drive

* Chamber of Commerce Education and Governmental Relations Committees

* School Board presentations and work sessions

* PTA Functions

* The Festival of Trees

* CREA’s Public Relations Committee and/or the Care & Share Committee

* The Linn County Educator of the Year Program sponsored by Farmers State Bank

* Read Across America Day

* Teacher Store access and volunteer workers

networking faculty rep assembly
NetworkingFaculty Rep Assembly

CREA’s Association Reps in the buildings are the most important link in our leadership chain! Once a month, on the first Wednesday, the Reps meet at a central location. The meeting is dedicated to information sharing, updates, committee reports, training, treats, valuable prizes and camaraderie. Representatives take information back to their members and receive questions or concerns to submit. Each building selects their own Representatives. Faculties are encouraged to have multiple and alternate reps so that no group goes unrepresented at any of the meetings.

CREA is always looking for more Representatives. If you’d like to attend a meeting to get an idea of what would be involved, we’d love to have you visit! If you are interested and want to discuss this opportunity further, please contact Tammy Wawro at TWawro@cr.k12.ia.us.

networking social gatherings
NetworkingSocial Gatherings

While our CREA Executive Board and Association Rep meetings provide lots of opportunity for socialization of the leadership team, social events for members is still a work in progress. We experimented with the program by sponsoring tickets to a hockey game and to a big stage musical. Both events were well-attended and sparked quite a bit of interest. The CREA Leadership Committee is now exploring the option of offering other social opportunities including movie nights, a dance, a Planet X Saturday, other sporting events, and bus trips that could include shopping at the Mall of America, antiquing in Galena, Illinois, sightseeing when the leaves are changing colors, or a riverboat gambling expedition. We always encourage informal social gatherings of members like baby showers, wedding celebrations, payday parties, etc. Our purpose is to strengthen ties between members and members’ families.

networking care share
NetworkingCare & Share

The Care and Share Committee is a function within the Public Relations Committee. This program attempts to recognize and celebrate accomplishments, send congratulations, and extend sympathy or concern to members and their families when life events happen. We count on the Faculty Reps to provide the information on our web site at www.creaonline.com, to contact one of the public relations team members so we can forward the information to Care & Share. Our newsletter On The Edge is a great source for Care & Share event announcements.The Project Manager for Care and Share is Erica Male and she can be contacted at emale@cr.k12.ia.us. Other members of the PR team include Ray Feuss, Jeannie Pfeiffer and Pete Clancy who can all be contacted through the district email system.

networking involvement with the school board
NetworkingInvolvement with the School Board

The CREA President, Tammy Wawro, regularly attends school board meetings. She sits on the Executive Council and the Superintendent’s Cabinet representing the interests of teachers and teacher associates.

Frequently, CREA is involved in presentations to the school board at their meetings or in a work session. Work session topics that we have shared with the school board include Resolution Team process and functions, site-based or shared decision-making, performance-based pay, living contract language, salary schedule alternatives and orientation to our contract and negotiations process. Presentations at the school board are frequently related to recognition of our members and their students.

networking recognition for educators
NetworkingRecognition for Educators

Each year CREA presents awards to educators, including the Linn County Educator of the Year and H.O. Maxey Humanitarian Award. Our local Educator of the Year is then nominated for ISEA’s Educator of the Year Award. CREA also makes nominations for ISEA and NEA awards including the Charles F. Martin Award, the Humanitarian Award, ESP (Educational Support Professional) of the Year, the Team Award and Friend of Education Award. H.O. Maxey was the last local Charles F Martin Award Winner, Slayton Thompson won the ISEA Humanitarian Award several years ago, Greg Reed was honored with the Team Award and Sunny Story is was ESP of the Year for ISEA and NEA in 2004.

CREA’s Leadership Team works to provide small gifts and recognition to our members both during American Education Week in November and on National Teacher Day in May and National ESP Day in November.

hot topics
Hot Topics
  • Discounts
  • Insurance
  • Meeting Standards & Criteria, New Evaluations
  • Lobbying for changes in the Iowa Teacher Compensation Legislation
  • ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) and No Child Left Behind
  • Mentoring Model and E-Portfolio
  • National Board Certification
  • Elections
hot topics discounts
Hot TopicsDiscounts

Member Access Discount Card

ISEA is in its fifth year of the Member Access program. Each member in the state is given a personalized card. Members can take advantage of discounts by presenting their Access card at participating merchants. Savings may be as much as 50% and include discounts for golf, hotels, cruises, condos, resorts, eye care, shopping, restaurants, theme parks, entertainment, health products, auto services, hair cuts, whitewater rafting, ski and snowboarding, all-inclusive vacations, and much, much more! In addition, CREA/CROTA have added local businesses to offer even more discount opportunities to our members.

hot topics insurance
Hot TopicsInsurance

No one in the District is satisfied with the insurance program and high cost of premiums. While that problem is not unique to Cedar Rapids, or even to Iowa, CREA believes that some major changes are necessary. We know that improvements and reform of MIIP are always going to be a priority. We were successful at getting a CREA Representative placed on the MIIP Board and CREA and CROTA’s contract committees will continue working collaboratively with the District to seek out and explore viable options for improved health care options.

Watch for updates from your Association Reps and in our Association publications. If you are interested in being involved in either the Contract Maintenance or Contract Advancement Committees that will be working on this project please contact the chairperson of either committee. Contract Maintenance is chaired by Tania Johnson and Contract Advancement is chaired by Shawn Thomsen. Tania and Shawn are available on the District email system as TaJohnson@cr.k12.ia.us and SThomsen@cr.k12.ia.us.

hot topics meeting standards criteria new evaluations
Hot TopicsMeeting Standards & CriteriaNew Evaluations

The Iowa Teacher Compensation Law prescribed a process of standards and criteria for evaluations of beginning teachers. It also required that first and second year teachers receive the services of a mentor. All of that is fully implemented and Cedar Rapids has one of the best programs in the state thanks to our Mentor Coordinator, Beth Hieronymus and the Association’s collaboration with the District. Watch for updated evaluation and support procedure information from your Association Rep, your CREA/CROTA bargaining teams and in your Association publications.

hot topics lobbying for changes in the iowa teacher compensation legislation
Hot TopicsLobbying for changes in the Iowa Teacher Compensation Legislation

CREA and CROTA both have non-traditional salary schedules that incorporate levels that provide salary growth opportunities. Levels are identified as additional educational coursework and training. The salaries in these schedules “loop” so there is no ceiling on what any teacher or teacher associate can earn.

CREA has incorporated all of the legislated salary supplements (Phase 1 & 2 and Teacher Compensation funding) into one salary schedule making our beginning wage for teachers the highest in the state. Our career teacher salaries at the maximums in the schedule are also the highest in the state.

CROTA is working hard in a national campaign to win a competitive living wage for teacher associates. They are also, through bargaining, working for contract language that would allow associates to have the option to be paid on a year round basis.

If you would like an explanation of how the salary schedule works and can be read, please ask the Association Rep(s) in your building to request this information session through the UniServ Director.

hot topics esea elementary and secondary education act no child left behind
Hot TopicsESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) No Child Left Behind

The provisions of the ESEA that require that every student in every school must achieve at least one full year of growth in every subject, every year are particularly problematic for educators and public schools. Buildings that do not meet the standard of yearly growth will be placed on a list of “schools in need of assistance” and may be subject to penalties and sanctions, including the loss of funding and bargained agreements that protect the employees. NEA has made the reform of this legislation a priority. The President is key to this fight and it is going to mean that every education employee and concerned citizen, parent and voter is going to have to get involved! Watch for more information on this issue from your Association Rep and in your Association publications. If you want to be involved in the political campaign on this issue, please contact the CREA Governmental Affairs Chairperson, Roxann Dittmer at RDittmer@cr.k12.ia.us or the CREA PAC Chairperson, Kathy Ulrich at KUlrich@cr.k12.ia.us.

hot topics mentoring model and e portfolio
Hot TopicsMentoring Model and E-Portfolio

Our District has been particularly successful in the development and implementation of a quality mentoring program for first and second year teachers. The program is overseen by Beth Hieronymus. CREA President, Tammy Wawro has also been a key player in the development of the mentoring program. Tammy worked with staff at the University of Iowa on a program that is now called E-Portfolio. E-Portfolio is an online guide that will assist new teachers (or veteran teachers) build a professional portfolio of their work. If you explore this web site at http://www.education.uiowa.edu/CR842/ you will see the University’s logo, the District’s logo and CREA’s logo with a hot link to our web site. Take a look at this when you can, we’re sure you will be impressed with the work of our Association! We are!

hot topics elections
Hot TopicsElections

To maintain a collaborative working relationship with the District, we need to be involved in the School Board election.

To achieve making changes to the Iowa Teacher Compensation Law, we need to be involved in the election of our state officials and legislators.

To achieve changes in the ESEA, we need to be involved in the election of our next President, Vice President , State Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Unless WE change the people representing us, we can’t fix the laws that need fixing! It’s in our hands and it’s up to you, and you, and you! We may not like politics, but every decision that affects education is a political decision! Our local PAC (Political Action Committee) will be screening and recommending candidates for local, state and national offices. Watch for more information from your Association Rep(s) and in your Association publications. If you want up-to-the-minute, quality information, log on and become a subscriber to ISEA Hotline. Your Rep can give you the information needed to start getting the Hotline. If you want to be involved in candidate interviews, please contact Kathy Ulrich at KUlrich@cr.k12.ia.us.

talking about objections
Talking About Objections
  • The Money Issues
  • The Political Issues
  • The Association Issues
  • The Personal Issues
talking about objections the money issues
Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • Membership costs too much
  • I can get the benefits without joining
  • Health insurance premiums are going up faster than my salary
  • I belong to PEI, AFT, HPERD, etc.
  • I don’t like the salary schedule
talking about objections the money issues1
Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • Membership costs too much

Actual cost is about $35 per paycheck from October through June – less for new teachers and associates. Think of dues as job insurance. You wouldn’t go without health insurance, home insurance, auto insurance and a host of others. Why would you leave your most important economic factor, your job, unprotected?

You can save more than the cost of dues by using NEA Member Benefits and ISEA/CREA/CROTA Member Access discounts.

You get what you pay for – top notch legal representation, liability protection, a strong professional voice, influence where it counts, improved teaching and learning, strength in numbers and so much more!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • I can get the benefits without joining.

The only time the Association is obligated to pursue a matter for a non-member is if that teacher alleges that the master contract has been violated in regard to their employment. A lawsuit would almost never fall under that umbrella. When we do get involved in a contract matter related to a non-member, we are there to represent the contract, not the teacher. That is a very different standard of service! For example, if we sit through a remediation meeting with a non-member, we only comment on whether or not the action plan meets the contractual standards. Then the teacher has to prove, on their own, whether or not they can make the necessary improvements to keep their job. For a member, we are there before the conference. We know the issues. We direct the discussion and write the action plan. The Association provides mentors, release time, counseling, materials and resources to make sure that the member does meet the standards for improvement and keep their job. In those rare instances where we have a teacher member who is not doing the job, we cut a deal with the district to get that teacher out with the maximum amount of dignity, a good financial settlement, and some ability to pursue their career elsewhere. In the case of a non-member who is not doing the job, we do not provide any assistance for a settlement package. Since a settlement package would constitute individual bargaining between the district and that teacher, and that is illegal in this state, the non-member leaves with nothing and their career trashed! Believe me, you do have to belong to get the benefits and services of the NEA/ISEA/CREA/CROTA!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • Health insurance premiums are going up faster than my salary

CREA leadership is just as concerned about the crisis in health maintenance costs and insurance premiums. We are working to make change! CREA pushed hard to get a position on the MIIP Board so that we could make change from within. We are looking for new health insurance providers, better models for delivery of group health plans and education so that we are better and more informed consumers.

There is much more work to do! We have to stick together to be powerful, bring about meaningful change and make this program better.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • I belong to PEI, AFT, some other professional organization

Belonging to most professional organizations provides you with little or no legal protection. Other competing organizations offer you a cheap tort liability insurance policy and do nothing to support children and public education.

PEI has no local representation or clout. It cannot bargain your salary or benefits and isn’t respected or recognized in this district. Reimbursement for claims is made after the fact. You find your own attorney and pay for everything up front. Make sure you investigate the difference between PEI’s meager tort liability policy and the full legal protection program provided by ISEA before you believe the misleading claims made by PEI.

AFT has not had a presence in Iowa, or in Cedar Rapids for over 20 years.

NEA/ISEA/CREA/CROTA is the only quality, full-service professional organization in town! 36,000 educators in Iowa have chosen ISEA. Only a few hundred believe PEI is their best choice. We’re number one for a reason! You do get what you pay for!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Money Issues:
  • I don’t like the salary schedule.

The salary schedule is just one part of a comprehensive master contract that protects your economic well-being, working conditions and employment status. Our schedule was changed when it no longer treated a majority of the members equitably. The current non-traditional structure allows for the distribution of new funds in a equitable manner. The schedule allows flexibility where it is needed. In 2003-2004 educators in their 3rd-12th years of teaching got larger increases than their colleagues. That decision was based on research and is only possible with the type of salary schedule that we now have. While you may be unhappy with certain aspects of the schedule, projections consistently show that it is better for your career over all because there is no point where an educator “tops out” and stops getting equitable salary increases. The schedule rewards educational improvement!

Members have a voice in changing things in the contract they don’t like. Non-members have no voice and no vote!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Political Issues:
  • NEA is too political
  • I don’t like NEA’s position on abortion/gay rights/gun control, etc.
  • The Association only supports Democrats
  • I would join the local if I didn’t have to join NEA
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Talking About ObjectionsThe Political Issues:
  • NEA is too political

Every decision that affects education is a political decision.

The more than 3.2-million-member National Education Association is the nation's leading advocate for children and public education. Since 1857, NEA has been working to advance the cause of public education and elevate the character of the teaching profession.

And yet, NEA and America's public schools are often under attack by a well-funded and well-organized network of opponents. Some are motivated by economics. They want tax cuts, tuition vouchers, or they want to profit from resources now devoted to children and education. Some are motivated by the drive for political control. Teachers, public schools, and the Association provide convenient scapegoats -- threats from which a candidate can claim to protect the voting public. Some are motivated by a desire to use public schools for religious instruction.

NEA is the primary organization standing in their way. NEA and its members will work with anyone committed to addressing real needs, and we will oppose anyone who wants to take public schools away from parents, teachers, and taxpayers, or diminish their involvement.

Advocates for children and public education must speak in terms that are simple, direct, and appeal to the concerns of parents and the general public. We must spend less time explaining and defending and more time telling people what we are doing to enhance teacher quality, raise student achievement, and improve public school's ability to educate every student.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Political Issues:
  • I don’t like NEA’s position on abortion/gay rights/gun control, etc.

NEA supports reproductive freedom -- including the right to have children or not have children.

The Association has long supported the current protections that assure women can make decisions appropriate for them. NEA's position for reproductive freedom is not the same as saying we are "for abortion." In fact, NEA has assisted a number of members who were harassed or terminated because they had made the decision to have a child -- against the objection of school administrators.

NEA believes that children should be taught to celebrate diversity and practice tolerance related to other cultures and lifestyles.

NEA supports limits on the sale, use, and distribution of certain types of guns, including handguns and semiautomatic weapons.

The Association encourages the development of laws and policies that will reduce the incidents of gun violence in schools and communities. Nothing in our policies would encourage laws that would eliminate the use of guns for hunting and target practice.

Limiting access to weapons is only part of a school safety strategy that should also include communication with parents, collaboration with community groups, law enforcement, and others, and well-publicized and uniformly endorsed code of conduct for students.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Political Issues:
  • The Association only supports Democrats

NEA members are involved in politics as a means of being effective advocates for children and education.

NEA and its state and local affiliates recommend candidates for office based on their positions on issues affecting children and public education. Republican and Democratic candidates are judged according to the same standards. Recommendations at the national, state, and local level are approved by committees that include both Republicans and Democrats.

The Fund for Children and Public Education, NEA's political action committee, makes contributions to candidates and parties. It is made up of voluntary contributions by Association members and their families. Nationally, contributions average $6 per member.

Elected and appointed officials set the budgets, make the policies, and design the programs for education at all levels. The involvement of Association members in the political process helps assure that teachers and education employees have a voice in those critical decisions.

The Association also spends money to communicate with its members about issues and candidates. Association's political efforts help boost voter participation, make voters more informed, and ultimately help protect children and education.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Political Issues:
  • I would join the local if I didn’t have to join NEA

We are 3.2 million members strong because we are part of the NEA.

NEA provides most of the funding for our local UniServ representative.

Our local officers and UniServ staff need the backing and support of the staff at NEA and ISEA, including lobbyists, attorneys and research specialists.

The NEA champions public education, helps you succeed with students, offers the information you need to stay up-to-date on your profession, helps you keep your students safe and healthy and opens opportunities to special professional grants and opportunities.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association is too “chummy” with administration
  • The Association is too adversarial
  • I don’t like the President/UniServ Director/Faculty Rep, etc.
  • The Association is not effective
  • We can’t strike
  • We should be more like the teamsters
  • The Association supports bad teachers
  • The Association protects coaches
  • CREA took away our seniority rights
  • The Association doesn’t listen to members
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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association is too “chummy” with administration

The Association is a stronger advocate for the members when they are involved in the decision-making process. It’s much more valid to help shape the decision so that it goes the way you want it to, rather than fight with the results of a decision that you don’t like and can’t support.

That means having our CREA President’s offices downtown and staying actively involved in all aspects of the District. We have access to pertinent and timely communications and information and can meet face-to-face with top officials of the district on a regular and on-demand basis.

We are better able to serve our members when we cultivate a working relationship with the district that is based on trust, honesty, integrity, sharing and cooperation. The results speak for themselves. CREA is recognized in the state and nationally as a leader in the area of labor relations. We help make this district a good place to work and grow!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association is too adversarial

Many educators have experienced bargaining under an old and adversarial model. Any gains made in economic benefits or contract language were made through ugly fights and distasteful battles.

The CREA has found a better way to do business with the district. We are united in a cooperative problem-solving process on a daily basis. This attitude and mode of operation transcends to bargaining. Therefore, contract negotiations go on all year long and are not the painful and agonizing process that many are familiar with.

CREA involves their Contract Advancement Committee and Bargaining Team in meaningful dialog and conversations with our employer. The result is a contract full of benefits and opportunities with the right amount of flexibility to serve the needs of our diverse constituency.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • I don’t like the President/UniServ Director/Faculty Rep, etc

Our UniServ Director is a highly qualified, well-trained, strong advocate for teachers and students. While the UniServ Director does participate in the leadership of the Association, the direction of CREA is still up to the CREA leaders and members. Kathy Krehbiel is only one part of a large team of dedicated educators who help lead CREA.

The President is elected by the CREA membership and has to stand for re-election every two years. If you don’t like the President, as a member you can use your vote to make a change.

Association Reps are appointed and CREA is always looking for volunteers. If you have a desire to make a difference in your building and would like to be an Association Rep, please contact CREA Leadership Chairperson, Kendra Holland at KHolland@cr.k12.ia.us.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association is not effective

Cedar Rapids is acknowledged in the state as one of the best and most progressive local associations. Our salary and benefit package, including early separation and our PEHP, is the best in the state.

We are on the cutting edge with our mentoring and induction program, including E-portfolio.

Our living language contract allows for regular and on-going negotiation and change.

Members in professional jeopardy have received resources and support, above and beyond any contractual rights and obligations through our unique and effective working relationship with the District.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • We can’t strike

Teacher strikes are against the law in Iowa. Striking would not benefit our students and is a bad public relations image.

In Iowa, as resolution to a bargaining impasse, we have final and binding arbitration. This is a better and stronger mechanism to settle contracts than striking. Even former Governor Branstad was not successful at setting aside an arbitrator’s award when he tried to take that battle to the courts.

During a strike, teachers lose hundreds of dollars per day for each day of work lost. Most of those days are not made up or rescheduled after the strike is over and it takes years to rebuild any type of positive working relationship. Retaliation, hard feelings, and distrust abound after a strike. Arbitration allows us to settle our differences without all those negative side-affects.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • We should be more like the teamsters

NEA has looked at the option for a merger with the teamsters on several occasions. The merger has never been accomplished because the philosophical differences between the two organizations is too great.

As part of the teamsters we would be obligated to respect their picket lines.

Our dues would increase.

The teamsters are a union. NEA/ISEA/CREA/CROTA is a professional organization.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association supports bad teachers

Every education employee is entitled to due process if they are going to be disciplined or dismissed from employment. The Association only protects that right for due process, nothing more.

CREA has been actively involved in the remediation processes for several years with the District. Many times that involves our leaders having to confront bad teachers and assist them in leaving their employment with some dignity. We assist members in the remediation process, but bottom line, if they’re not making the grade, they’re gone.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association protects coaches

The CREA contract allows the District to bypass a person in the seniority order when considering reductions, if that person is the head of a schedule C program and can’t be readily replaced. The language is designed to protect the program for our students, not any one individual. Very few heads of schedule C programs are actually indispensable!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • CREA took away our seniority rights.

Usually when we hear this objection, it’s related to someone not getting a transfer that they wanted. There is a broad misconception that transfer used to be based entirely on seniority. Seniority has always been one of several considerations in hiring. It has never been the sole determinant for transfer.

Seniority is used in making decisions relative to surplussing, reduction in force and recall. CREA is a strong advocate when protecting member’s rights in these difficult staffing decisions.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Association Issues:
  • The Association doesn’t listen to members.

The Association has many opportunities for involvement and to listen to the voices of their members.

Membership surveys are periodically submitted to the members to have input to the contract. Faculty reps are surveyed about the needs in the building. Members are surveyed to assess satisfaction and needs. CREA has a newsletter that entertains letters to the editor and questions for the Director. Our website www.creaonline.org provides the opportunity to direct messages and correspondence to Association leaders at all levels.

We will continue to seek member input and look forward to hearing from you!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • My spouse/church/family doesn’t approve of unions and/or won’t let me join
  • I’m just not a joiner
  • I don’t approve of unions
  • I’m a good teacher - I won’t ever need the Association’s help
  • The District will take care of me if I get in trouble
  • I’m not interested
  • I’m too busy
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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • My spouse/church/family doesn’t approve of unions and/or won’t let me join

CREA is a professional organization dedicated to improved student achievement, protection of public education and excellent wage and salary packages for education employees. What does your spouse/church/family disapprove of in those goals?

Perhaps we can provide more information on a specific issue that will help you have a meaningful discussion of this subject at home.

I am certain your spouse, family and church would want your professional and economic well-being to be protected and supported. CREA does that!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • I’m just not a joiner.

When you become a member of CREA, you’re not just joining a club or a cause. You’re taking a positive action to protect your economic well-being, your family, children and public education.

Whether or not you choose to become active in our efforts, you are making a statement to your colleagues that being professional is important to you.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • I don’t approve of unions.

CREA is a professional organization. We provide you with contract and legal protection, opportunities for growth, and input into your profession.

What is it about CREA that you don’t approve of? Perhaps we can provide you with more information to assist in making this very important membership decision.

Remember, change is made from within. If we aren’t everything you’d like us to be, join, get involved and help us change and get better!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • I’m a good teacher. I won’t ever need the Association’s help.

That would be wonderful if we lived in a perfect world and you could always count on your accusers to be fair. Remember, you work in a profession where you are subject to complaints that are based on the perception of a child!

CREA is a family of dedicated and caring professionals. Our best and brightest teachers are mentors and helpers for our new staff and for career teachers who may be struggling. We can use the support and membership of good teachers!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • The District will take care of me if I get in trouble.

State law requires that all public education institutions must have tort liability protection for the district. Tort liability covers employers and their agents and employees only for legal actions that are of a serious and/or criminal nature - negligence, for instance. Many lawsuits involving teachers, parent complaints, corporal punishment, use of force, etc. do not fall under tort liability coverage. And, even if your lawsuit was a tort matter, if the district’s attorney is handling the case, that attorney is going to cut a deal in the best interest of their client who is the district, not the individual! The attorney may agree to an out-of-court settlement that finds the teacher negligent and pay some amount to keep the whole matter quiet and out of the press. However, the teacher now faces the possibility of a civil action against them for negligence and the loss of their license. If you entrust your job protection to any one other than your own paid attorney, you are putting yourself at risk. Just the retainer to employ an attorney is going to cost 4-5 years worth of dues if you have to hire your own legal counsel, and you run the risk of getting an attorney who really doesn't know school law and isn't knowledgeable on teacher or employment issues.

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • I’m not interested.

What are your special interests?

CREA has many program and standing committees that are active all year long in a variety of challenging and fun activities. You may want to review our committee goals and plans for the year and just see if there isn’t something there that you would enjoy and be interested in.

The Association is always open to new interests and ideas. Why don’t you share your special talents and get involved in a worthwhile cause with your colleagues!

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Talking About ObjectionsThe Personal Issues:
  • I’m too busy.

Association membership doesn’t require any additional involvement and you have the added peace of mind in knowing that CREA is working for your protection and advancement 365/24/7!