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Obama reelection is a victory for public education and students

NEA president says voters showed support for students and the middle class

WASHINGTON - November 06, 2012 -

Students and children scored major victories throughout the United States today, as voters took to the polls and made their point: it’s time to focus on what’s important here at home.  In addition to reelecting President Obama, voters elected friends of education to every level of government and rejected ballot measures that attacked educators and public education.

"President Obama’s re-election is a victory for students and their educators," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "Americans have spoken and they’ve chosen to continue moving forward.  Voters made clear that they value public education, workers’ rights, health care, women’s rights and a strong middle class."

Over the past four years, the Obama Administration fought to keep class sizes small, and protected more than 400,000 educator jobs. He also doubled investment in scholarships and financial aid so more middle and working-class families can realize the dream of a college education.

"Throughout the campaign, the President pledged to invest in education—especially in early childhood education—and to make higher education more affordable," said Van Roekel. "He and his congressional and gubernatorial colleagues also promised to protect women’s rights and rebuild the middle class from the inside out—and that obviously resonated with voters, especially educators."

In addition to President Obama’s reelection, friends of education were elected in key Senate races across the country. Senate victories in Virginia, Massachusetts,Pennsylvania—and especially in Ohio, where worker’s rights issues have ignited political firestorms over the past two years—sent a clear message to anti-union, anti-public education forces: middle class Americans are fed up with the attacks on their rights.

In addition to the Senate victories, friends of public education are also celebrating a gubernatorial victory in New Hampshire, as well as gains in state legislatures throughout the United States and several ballot measure successes.  

"What this says is that voters were paying attention," said Van Roekel.  "Instead of standing by and watching their rights being trampled on in their states, voters from all backgrounds stood up and said, ‘my family is important, too.’  It will be our job to remind other lawmakers of this significant mandate." 

Educators—74 percent of whom are women—played a key role in these victories. NEA members live in every state, in every Congressional district, and in every precinct, and one in every 100 voters is a NEA member. NEA was the first union to endorse President Obama for a second term, and nearly 500,000 NEA members signed up in some way to be involved in the Obama For America campaign.

"From day one, NEA members have supported President Obama and his vision for America and public education. And over the past two years, they worked tirelessly on behalf of America’s public school children," said Van Roekel.  "I’m confident our three million members will continue to work with the President and other elected officials to fix the financial mess we inherited while protecting core American values like public education, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security."

"That work begins tomorrow. Tonight, we will celebrate," he added.

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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: Staci Maiers (202) 822-7823,