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Obama Addresses Nearly 10,000 Educators at NEA Meeting

Calls for new era in public education

WASHINGTON - July 05, 2008 -

Presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama addressed nearly 10,000 educators today as part of the National Education Association's Representative Assembly. Obama called for overhauling No Child Left Behind, providing adequate resources to educators, and encouraging parental and community involvement.

"I want to lead a new era of mutual responsibility in education-one where we all come together-parents and educators, the NEA and leaders in Washington, citizens all across America; united for the sake of our children's success," Obama said. "Bringing about that future begins with fixing the broken promises of No Child Left Behind."
Obama addressed the Assembly on Saturday via satellite, after delegates had voted Friday to officially endorse him for president.

"We must fix the failures of NCLB," Obama said. "We must provide the funding that was promised, give our states the resources they need, and finally meet our commitment to special education. But that alone is not an education policy. It's just a starting point."

Earlier this week, Obama sent a letter to NEA members in support of the Association's new plan to transform all public schools by the year 2020 through redefining the federal role in education.

"I applaud the NEA for its efforts to frame the agenda outlined in Great Public Schools for Every Student by 2020," Obama said in the letter. "This document provides a roadmap for educators, elected officials, policymakers, and all who care deeply about the future of our children to consider and debate in the days ahead. And it provides critical starting points for a new educational compact."

NEA has launched a $50 million campaign to elect pro-public education candidates in the November election. The Association's over 3.2 million members live in every state, in every congressional district, and in every precinct.

"Barack Obama has stood with educators throughout his career in public service. He understands the importance of educators to the future of our great country," Weaver said. "It's time for change. We need a pro-public education president who will treat children as more than test scores and who will ensure every child attends a quality public school."

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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: Will Potter  (202) 822-7823