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New Documentary Highlights Teachers’ Fight for Excellence

NEA Hosts DC Premiere of Mitchell 20

WASHINGTON - December 09, 2011 -

The National Education Association (NEA) will roll out the red carpet this evening for the Washington DC premiere of Mitchell 20, a documentary that follows a group of 20 teachers through their journey toward achieving national board certification, the most advanced professional credential available to teachers in the United States.  Nearly 200 local teachers and education leaders will attend the screening of the film, which will be followed by a panel discussion on “Leading the Teaching Profession:  A Conversation with Teachers, Key Stakeholders and Leaders.”

“NEA is proud to showcase Mitchell 20 because it carries the very powerful message that when we support teachers and allow their voices to be heard, children receive the best education possible,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.  “This is a remarkable film about a group of teachers with such dedication to their profession and students that they embark on the nation’s most rigorous teaching certification program.”

Mitchell 20 paints a distressing picture of the realities of teaching in America today. The film spans a three-year period, and uncovers a broken education system that actually works against the very teachers who commit to investing time and effort to reach the highest level of excellence. The film features the staff of a school in a low income, largely Hispanic area of Phoenix, Arizona, that takes a collective pledge to earn national board certification in order to pull their students out of the depths of poverty and help them chart a bright future.

Earlier this week, the White House hosted an event to celebrate the newest class of 6,200 board certified teachers, bringing the total number of board certified teachers to nearly 100,000.  The Administration also drew attention to the certification process and how it has a positive impact on teacher quality.  According to the National Research Council, students who are taught by board certified teacher show higher gains on achievement tests than those taught by other teachers. NEA was among the founding organizations that established the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 1986.

The panel discussion following the Mitchell 20 screening will focus on the national board certification process, as well as on the characteristics of effective teachers and what they need to really help students succeed.  Panelists include U.S. Department of Education Senior Program Advisor Brad Jupp; Mitchell 20 teacher Daniela Robles; NEA President Van Roekel; and Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise.

Sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA) with additional support from the University of Phoenix, the film was produced through a partnership between Randy Murray Productions ( and the Arizona K-12 Center ( Promotion and distribution of the Mitchell 20 documentary is tied directly to advocacy to improve teaching in America.  Half of the profits from the film will be used for scholarships for teachers in impoverished schools across the country. 

Visit to learn more about Mitchell 20.

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT:  Christiana Campos  202-822-7261,