Beth Ekre, a middle school teacher from Fargo, was named the state Teacher of the Year at the North Dakota Education Association Instructional Conference. She addressed the attendees and, along with the three other finalists, headed over to the NDEA reception to be held in their honor, which was titled “A Celebration of Excellence.”
But teaching excellence apparently wasn’t quite enough for the brain-dead officers of the North Dakota Education Association. They barred Ekre from attending the reception because she’s not a union member.
“It was a humiliating experience,” Ekre said. “It’s one of the most uncomfortable situations I’ve ever been in.”
Ekre told the Associated Press she joined the association when she first began teaching but dropped out because she regards the NDEA’s parent organization, the National Education Association, as too politically liberal.
Now she has an additional reason not to join.
The incident has sparked controversy in the state, with some talk of legislative action to end NDEA’s role in the Teacher of the Year competition. This on-line forum has generated a lot of comments, as well.
Ms. Ekre is now in line to become National Teacher of the Year. If she wins, she’ll join a long list of teachers-of-the-year who have bucked the union.