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NEA reiterates support for Global Campaign for Education

Campaign continues to push governments to provide quality, free public education by 2015

WASHINGTON - April 21, 2009 -

NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen joined leaders from around world today in support of the education rights of  children, including the right to professional, quality teachers and access to quality public education.  Eskelsen’s remarks came during a roundtable discussion and news conference marking the Global Campaign for Education’s Global Action Week, April 20–26.

As part of this year’s Global Action Week observance, the Global Campaign for Education launched “The Big Read,” a book of short stories about education written by leading figures such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Natalie Portman, and Action Week Honorary Chair Queen Rania of Jordan.

Eskelsen added her signature to “The Big Read” book and the campaign’s call for all governments to deliver quality, free public education by 2015. Around the world, leaders, educators, and students are holding Big Read events to gain public attention to the global education crisis.

Current global education statistics are staggering, including:

  • 75 million children don’t have access to basic education,
  • 226 million adolescents are denied the opportunity to attend secondary school, and
  • 774 million adults—most of them women—are illiterate.
  • The deepening global financial crisis threatens to worsen those numbers.

“I and my colleagues are here to remind the world that the human and civil right of a child to quality public education is not only a matter of justice and morality, it’s a matter of cold, hard economic development,” said Eskelsen, urging President Obama to fulfill his pledge to contribute $2 billion to the Global Education Fund.

“It will not be enough for one country’s children to succeed, or one continent’s children to succeed,” said Eskelsen. “We must stand up for every child’s right to a great education. Together we can take the power that education brings and give it to our children. And when children win, the world wins.”

NEA was a member of the Education International Delegation to the World Forum in Dakar 2000, which established the 2015 goal of Education for All.

For more information about “The Big Read” and the Global Campaign for Education, go to

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing  3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Anita Merina
(202) 822-7289,