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Obama talks with educators about challenges and reform

WASHINGTON - September 10, 2008 -

If you want to know what resources are needed in America's classrooms, ask an educator.  That's exactly what Sen. Barack Obama did today as he took his message on education reform to a high school in Norfolk, Va.  Obama emphasized the importance of increasing access to technology and making college affordable and accessible for every student.  He added that he wants to listen to educators and partner with them to ensure opportunities for America's students.

Obama's message will likely go a long way with NEA's 3.2 million members, 80 percent of whom are female. Women make up an important constituency in this election and will prove to be an integral swing vote.  In addition, no one is better positioned to influence their neighbors on wise political choices than educators, who are among the most respected messengers in America.

The following can be attributed to National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel:

"Sen. Barack Obama is showing that he is committed to transforming America's public schools and is interested in getting input from those charged with the awesome responsibility of educating our youth.  It is important to have educators' voices represented in this effort, because they can speak firsthand about what resources are needed to make sure every child receives a first-class education.

"Sen. Obama wants to fund technology programs that would help with everything from tutoring to skills assessment to successful strategy sharing among educators across the country.  As a founding partner of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, NEA joined business leaders and policymakers to promote the integration of technology and provide the resources needed to facilitate change.  It is imperative that America's schools provide students with the skills that will help them compete in a global economy.

"Education should not end in high school.  NEA agrees with Obama's assertion that every student who wants to attend college should be able to do so.  Higher education is no longer a luxury, but a requirement.  Our country cannot afford to shortchange our future and global competitiveness.

"Obama understands that public education is the heartbeat of our nation and wants to improve it.  In stark contrast, Sen. John McCain has shown he will simply be more of what we have had for the past eight years. He has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time, and his education plan has erased any doubts that he would discontinue the misguided policies of the Bush administration."

For more on NEA's campaign activities, please visit:

For more on the Partnership for 21st Century Skills:

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional 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

ContactRamona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823