WASHINGTON – From grassroots events around the country to a day of learning on Capitol Hill, educators are raising their hands and lifting their voices to fulfill the promise of public education for every student.
The National Education Association continues to drive its call to action—Raise Your Hand—a national initiative to mobilize educators, parents, and community leaders who share our commitment to ensuring the success of all our students. By tapping into their commitment and leadership to serve America’s students, NEA is uniting its members with parents, community leaders, and elected officials across the country to ensure that every student succeeds.
“Every day, real-world educators develop and implement smart policies and successful programs. Our goal is to spread their efforts across the nation to benefit students and the future of public education,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “With nearly 3 million members working in schools and communities across the nation, NEA is a leading voice for student success and great public schools. It is time for us to accelerate the transformation of public education. Nobody knows better than educators what their students need to succeed in the classroom.”
Educators and leaders gathered in Washington and in communities across the country today to discuss issues related to student success and demand more for America’s children. On Capitol Hill, NEA sponsored a groundbreaking bi-partisan event featuring NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY), leading thinkers and advocates for public education, and classroom teachers and education support professionals to provide “Real World Perspectives on Public Education.” The day-long event featured various panels covering crucial issues including educator preparation and mentoring; professional development and student achievement; student learning and educational equity; and assessments, evaluation and accountability. The event lifted up the voices of real-world experience in our schools and classrooms that are too often absent from the policy debates impacting public education.
“Our educators are the key to strengthening the nation’s education system and the NEA has continued to be a leader by supporting and mentoring educators who are on the front lines and advocating for policies that would benefit students,” said Rep. Takano. “I’m proud to be a part of this event and hope that educators, administrators and activists leave with fresh ideas on how to improve our education system.”
“Too often the voices of real-world experience are absent from policy debates about public education,” said Rep. Hanna. “It’s not bureaucrats who know what’s best for our students – it’s those with daily, first-hand experience with our children. If we are to increase overall student achievement and better prepare our students for the workforce and an economically competitive future, it’s time we start listening to parents, trained educators, and school district leaders.”
The event on Capitol Hill was a springboard event to kick off a wave of activism by educators across the country to help amplify educators’ messages and issues. The events began today in D.C. and will continue the rest of the week before sparking a wave of events throughout the spring:
· In Jackson, Miss., the Mississippi Association of Educators will host a forum tonight with parents, community partners, and educators to discuss the need for course correction on Common Core, take steps to support student and educator success, and raise awareness of what full funding and resources for public schools would mean to parents, students, and educators.
· In Vermont, the state association is working to get VT Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe to adopt a new testing system.
· Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Education Association held a funding rally to draw attention to the dire need for better funding for public education.
· Educators in Virginia held a “grade-in” rally yesterday emphasizing workload and class size in order to highlight the need for funding and resources to ensure student success.
· Educators spoke up in other locations around the country, advocating for the recruitment of caring and qualified people into the profession, the need for adequate school funding, and freedom from standardized testing so every student can learn and every educator can teach.
NEA is taking the lead within the education profession through a series of initiatives that put educators in positions of leadership within their practice. The Association and BetterLesson recently launched a new web site, cc.betterlesson.com/mtp. The site, where teachers share what works in the classroom, features more than 3,000 classroom-ready lessons that are easily accessible and can be integrated into any curriculum. Earlier this year, NEA, the Center for Teaching Quality and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards announced the national Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), a joint endeavor to develop a new generation of leaders within the teaching profession. NEA has also partnered with Teach Plus to launch a selective fellowship that will empower solutions-oriented teachers, most of whom are in the first 10 years of their careers, to advise union leadership on teacher engagement and retention.
“As the education leader, NEA is aiming to empower teachers to lead and shape education policy, and prepare the next generation of teacher leaders,” said Van Roekel. “Educators from around the country raised their hands today and had their voices heard. It’s time for everyone to do what’s best for our nation’s students.”