If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Education Minnesota is bowing to popular usage and rebranding its annual fall teacher conference as the "Minnesota Educator Academy."

That means that families again will have an "MEA break," a phrase that persisted in popular usage for the 17 years after the former Minnesota Education Association merged with the Minnesota Federation of Teachers.

"We heard you, Minnesota. MEA is back," the educator union said in announcing the name. Although the four-day break continued after the 1998 merger, the phrase "Education Minnesota break" never really caught on.

This year's version of the professional development conference will be held on Oct. 15-16 at St. Paul's RiverCentre.

The union said that the two-day conference will offer more sessions in higher-demand topics such as student mental health. There will also be extended sessions designed to allow teachers to gain credits toward relicensing.

The event with more than 100 sessions and speakers is open to the public.

(Teachers browsed materials at the 1988 MEA convention. Photo by Regene Radniecki.)