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Perdue Primary Win a Victory for North Carolina's Children and Public Education

Support of NEA members instrumental in election outcome

WASHINGTON - May 07, 2008 -

Through unprecedented grassroots organizing and mobilization, local members of the North Carolina Association of Educators and the National Education Association turned out in record numbers to vote for Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue in North Carolina's  May 6 primary to select a Democratic candidate to face Republican Pat McCrory for governor in November.

"Today we celebrate a victory for North Carolina's children  and public education," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "NCAE and NEA members let their voices be heard in this election. Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue has been a long-time advocate for public education, ensuring that our children have the resources they need to succeed and that North Carolina's public  schoolteachers receive professional pay. Bev Perdue has supported public education, and, today, NEA members were able to return that support."

Perdue, a former public schoolteacher with a doctorate in education administration, captured the Democratic nomination by defeating North Carolina State Treasurer Richard Moore.

The NCAE and NEA members in North Carolina ran a sophisticated program of on-the-ground activities to mobilize Association members to take part in the Democratic primary. Over 200,000 individual direct mail pieces were sent to separate targeted membership groups.

Other activities included targeted phone calls, emails, text messages, special activist newsletters, as well as on-one-one communications among and between Association members to build voter turnout in support of Perdue’s primary campaign. NCAE and NEA members engaged in volunteer activity in record numbers, over 1,000 grassroots volunteers, for the Perdue campaign.

NEA's PAC, the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education, also supported Perdue through Internet blogging about Perdue's record on public education issues and by running independent television ads in Wilmington, Greenville, Asheville and  Raleigh.

Perdue has been instrumental in improving teacher pay in North Carolina from 43rd to 21st in the nation. She led efforts to create the Teacher Academy, a professional development program funded by the North Carolina General Assembly, and in providing funds to help North Carolina educators gain National Board Certification. North Carolina ranks first in nationally certified teachers. Perdue also has been a strong supporter of early childhood education programs, high school reform initiatives and efforts to make college affordable for all North Carolina students.

"North Carolina's public  school employees made it clear on Tuesday that we intend to make public education a priority in every election this year," adds Weaver. "And we intend to do everything necessary to energize and mobilize our members in every election in every state from now through November."

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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: Celeste Fernandez  (202) 822-7823