Advocating for You


 

PAGE is here for you – during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. As schools throughout the state return to teaching and learning amid the pandemic, you may be asking: “What is PAGE doing to make things better for me, my family, and my fellow educators during this exceptionally challenging time?”

Gathered below are a few examples of how PAGE is advocating for you.

Thank you for your trust in your Professional Association of Georgia Educators. Please contact us at any time should you have questions, concerns, or need assistance: 770-216-8555 / 800-334-6861.


Essential Critical Infrastructure Worker Designation

Read PAGE Letter to Governor Brian Kemp

Read PAGE Recommendations to Governor Brian Kemp


Frequently Asked Questions

Read COVID-19 FAQs from the PAGE Legal Department


Member Surveys & Educator-Informed Analysis

Access the Results of the PAGE COVID-19 Educator Impact Survey

Access the Results of the PAGE COVID-19 Budget Impact Survey

Access the Results of the PAGE COVID-19 School Opening Survey


Educator-Informed Recommendations

Read PAGE Educator-Informed Recommendations for Prioritizing Health & Wellness within School Opening Plans


Advocacy Letters

Advocacy Letter for Educator Leave with Pay Due to COVID-19 Exposure or Infection

Advocacy Letter for Additional Federal Funding for Georgia Schools (U.S. Senator Version)

Advocacy Letter for Additional Federal Funding for Georgia Schools (U.S. Representatives Version)


PAGE-Member Virtual Town Hall with State School Superintendent and GaDOE

Access the audio recording here


Member-Informed PAGE Media Statements & Interviews

August 2020, AJC

“The Professional Association of Georgia Educators has given some input already and will be giving more, said Margaret Ciccarelli, the group’s legislative services director. She said PAGE was pleased that Kemp ‘did not rush to reclassify educators’ as workers who need not quarantine. She said the group wants ‘more robust’ virus reporting in schools and stronger paid leave policies for educators exposed to the virus.”

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August 2020, Associated Press

“All of us would prefer that schools could open, stay open, and return to their place as a vital center of community life. However, ignoring the high probability of continued community spread through elimination of quarantine protocols ensures prolonged health and safety issues for all Georgians,” Executive Director Craig Harper wrote in an accompanying letter.

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August 2020, WSB

Margaret Ciccarelli, PAGE Director of Legislative Services, shares Georgia educator concerns with WSB TV.

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August 2020, WSB

“We are hearing from hundreds of educators around the state who have deep concerns about schools opening. Our educators want to go back to schools, but the question of when they go back and how they go back is critical right now,” [Margaret] Ciccarelli [PAGE Director of Legislative Services] said. “We’re hearing from more educators and districts who are either already open for face-to-face instruction or who have announced plans to resume face-to-face instruction soon. Teachers in those districts are concerned that the districts are not making accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act for conditions that the teachers have that make them more vulnerable to coronavirus. They’re also concerned if they’re providing virtual instruction that districts are requiring them to come in onto school sites to provide that virtual instruction.”

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August 2020, WGXA

“Educators are doing their best to serve students during the pandemic but these are complicated times and it’s important that they have an advocacy group,” Margaret Ciccarelli [PAGE Director of Legislative Services] says. “They’re concerned but they want to come back. The survey data indicates that. But how and when are what the controversies are here.”

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July 2020, The Red & Black

“About one in five Georgia teachers are uncertain about returning to the classroom this fall, according to a survey of roughly 16,000 educators conducted by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE). ‘No one has ever been down this road before,’ Claire Suggs, senior education policy analyst for PAGE, said. ‘It’s really important that there be open and clear dialogue…The end goal is for everyone to be back at school,’ Suggs said. ‘That’s what teachers want, that’s what families want, that’s what students want. But we want to do it as safely as possible.’”

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July 2020, Georgia Recorder

“’Returning to Georgia’s classrooms is an important step in adapting to the continued presence of COVID-19. However, doing so must be accomplished in measured ways that provide the safest possible environment for educators and students,’ [said Craig Harper, PAGE executive director]. ‘Local school leaders are making informed decisions about when it is safe to open campuses, and many have determined that virtual instruction is the best, safest option for their communities. Georgia educators have a strong desire to reunite with students in classrooms, however, that desire is matched by their equally strong expectations that doing so will occur according to a process and timeline that protects the health and safety of all involved.’”

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July 2020, AJC

“After surveying its members and discussing the state situation, PAGE released its own recommendations…In a statement, PAGE said, ‘Following these recommendations offers multiple benefits including time for the increase in COVID-19 cases to subside, and for determining the appropriate school opening strategy. A delayed opening also provides more time for safety planning, robust communication with educators, and training on safety and instructional plans.’”

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July 2020, AJC

“‘While the information released today provides some helpful guidance about preventing COVID-19 spread within open schools, Georgia’s Path to Recovery does not provide critical guidance regarding how district leaders should determine the safest and most appropriate way schools should begin the year,’ the organization of nearly 100,000 educators said in a statement. ‘COVID-19 spread in broader local communities within which schools operate should inform school opening decisions in conjunction with the actual cases of COVID-19 and exposure inside of a school.’”

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July 2020, AJC

“‘They don’t currently feel that their district plans appropriately respond to the risk,’ (PAGE Legislative Director Margaret) Ciccarelli said. Among those who identified themselves as high risk for complications of infection, 67% felt their district’s plan was inadequate.”

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July 2020, ‘Political Rewind’ Podcast on GPB

“‘Educators responding to the [PAGE] survey indicated a high level of trepidation about returning to school…Those who work in a district that has announced local opening plans are concerned that those don’t fully protect students and teachers as they come back to the building,’ said PAGE director of Legislative Services (Margaret Ciccarelli). More survey analysis and advocacy to come.”

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June 2020, Georgia Recorder

“Craig Harper, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, said he was encouraged by efforts to protect some student services. But he said schools will be hard-pressed to provide online learning access, academic remediation, and personal protective equipment with the overall proposed cuts. ‘PAGE encourages policymakers at federal, state, and local levels to work toward solutions that minimize negative impacts on students, schools, and educators,’ Harper said.”

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May 2020, AJC

“‘We are encouraged by Gwinnett County Public Schools’ announcement today of an anticipated revision to their controversial plan for returning employees to on-site work,’ said Professional Association of Georgia Educators Executive Director Craig Harper. ‘PAGE has been in close contact with GCPS administration on this issue – conveying employee concerns to the superintendent and urging the district to amend the policy to prioritize the health and well-being of educators and school personnel. State School Superintendent Richard Woods and school leaders throughout Georgia have consistently recommended compassion over compliance in these unprecedented times.’”

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May 2020, AJC

“Craig Harper, executive director of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators the state’s largest teacher group, said: ‘We know the hard economic reality of this unprecedented situation will impact public education and educators. Schools and educators meet critical and essential needs of children and families in every community. PAGE encourages legislators at state and federal levels to do everything possible to ensure that doors are open for a full school year with the staff, resources, and safety measures necessary to fulfill this vital function.’”

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April 2020, AJC

“Over a third of the more than 15,000 respondents to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators survey said getting students online was their biggest challenge, Executive Director Craig Harper said. About 1 in 5 said their biggest problem was converting their lessons to an online format.”

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