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Educators approve $6 million in new funds to improve student success

Charge. Power. Responsibility. Courage. These were some of the words delegates heard throughout NEA’s 2013 Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly in Atlanta as they debated to vote for an increase to membership dues, which passed today. The $3 increase will go, in part, to NEA’s new Raise Your Hand campaign, which is aimed to improve student success and strengthen education professions.

The added revenue is expected to generate more than $6 million in funds, specifically to provide Great Public Schools Grants (GPS Grants) to NEA state and local affiliates. The grants will support innovative projects and best practices to boost student learning, such as successful implementation of Common Core Standards, school safety and anti-bullying programs, and technology initiatives to improve classroom instruction and student learning.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel encouraged delegates to vote for the amendment.

“Our country has no shortage of people with ideas about how schools need to change. It seems that anyone can call themselves an ‘education reformer’—no experience necessary. If we are going to take charge of our own professions, we must move beyond the old debate that has been defined by others,” said Van Roekel. “It is time for us to transform public education by taking charge of our own profession.”

GPS Grants will be awarded using criteria from key elements of the Raise Your Hand campaign, which will deliver concrete results, including successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration, and empowered leaders.

Van Roekel said of the campaign that the power of an educator’s expertise is important because “what we’re trying to do with ‘Raise Your Hand’ for public education is to say, ‘We’re going to tap into the passion, creativity, and power of everyone who spends their lives in education.’”

The new GPS grants will help galvanize and organize NEA resources to support results-oriented actions that will help ensure opportunity, equity, and success for every public school student in America. Moreover, it will enable educators to join with partnering organizations to raise up and broadcast the good ideas and smart policies of NEA members, as well as successful programs.

“It will take courage for us to raise our hands and show the nation that NEA, the largest labor union in the country, is committed to change. That we take responsibility for student success and that we will empower our members to make those changes,” Van Roekel said.


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