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Retired Educator Says Activism and Teaching Deeply Connected

Retired speech-language pathologist Karen Ostby spent her career helping students with communication problems, but she learned early on that, for students to get the services they need to succeed, teacher-activism is an essential ingredient.

Ostby, a CEA-Retired member, started teaching prior to the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975. In those days, students with disabilities often struggled to get the help they needed to do well in school.

Ostby saw how teachers and parents working together and advocating were able to get IDEA passed, and she was sold on the importance of teacher activism. Ever sense, she’s seen political activism as an essential part of being an educator.

And retirement didn’t end Ostby’s commitment to advocating on behalf of students. As a CEA-Retired member she continues to write letters to her members of Congress, attend CEA meetings, and help other members get involved in the political process.

Her dedication to political activism is such that it earned Ostby a feature on NEA’s EdVotes site recently.

“We have to get more people to get active, show them that we need them,” she said.

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