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Jobs, School Transformation Highlight Day Two of Annual Meeting

July 2, 2010

By Tim Walker

On Friday, one day before the RA officially begins, delegates awoke to the exciting news that the House of Representatives voted to approve funding that will save an estimated 138,000 educator jobs. NEA members went the distance, calling Congress in droves, adding to more than 60,000 calls made in the weeks leading up to the vote last night.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel hailed the vote. “Today, as a direct result of educators’ voices and efforts,” Van Roekel said, “we are a step closer to making sure children do not have to bear the brunt of our nation’s economic woes.” The action now moves to the Senate. Visit Education Votes for more.

Over at the Essence Music Festival, NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign is inviting attendees to get involved. Throughout the festival, which has been known to attract as many as 70,000 attendees from across the nation, the NEA booth is handing out pledge cards asking concertgoers to become involved in transforming priority schools in their communities. Learn more about NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign.

The NEA Office of Minority Community Outreach hosted “The Emerging Majority: A Paradigm Shift,” a panel discussion focusing on improving the academic performance of minority students. On the panel was Reverend Jesse Jackson; Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and current chairman of CityView; Hattie Kauffman, national news correspondent for CBS News Early Show; and Karen Narasaki, President and Executive Director of the Asian American Justice Center and Vice Chair of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

The panel was moderated by Judge Glenda Hatchett, host of syndicated TV show “Judge Hatchett,” the  first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a Georgia state court, and the department head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country.

The panelists agreed poverty was the fuel behind the educational problems that plague the minority population.

“We have one million homeless children in our country, roaming nomads who we expect to do well on tests,” said Jackson. “And we’re telling these shoeless children to race to the top? It’s a contradiction in terms.”

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