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A Message From the President: Making Our Mark on History

Barbara Matteson

History is an important teacher to us all. And as the NEA-Retired members featured in our cover story show us, we can all play a role in helping to preserve the stories of our past.

We need history keepers, not only to record the actions of well-known figures that schoolchildren will one day read about in books, but also to save the stories of families and communities that will help future generations understand where they came from.

Understanding history also gives us perspective on how the everyday decisions we make say who we are as a society. We believe that access to public education is a cornerstone of democracy.

But do the actions of our elected representatives support those ideals? Have we done all we can to speak out against the parts of the No Child Left Behind law that hinder public school teachers and evaluate schools unfairly?

And what will future generations think about how we take care of the older members of our community? We can help make it so that tomorrow’s public employees won't be penalized through the misguided provisions of Social Security law known as GPO/WEP (Governement Pension Offset/Windfall Elimination Provision).

Public employees in 15 states are affected by these penalties, but we’re asking members in every state to get informed and help NEA-Retired push for repeal.

We don’t have to look any further back than the past eight years to see the hits that public education, Social Security, and Medicare have endured. Every one of us has representatives in Congress who need to hear how we feel about these issues.

Don’t think for a minute that one little voice can’t make a difference—history tells us otherwise. Every “little voice” is needed for NEA to have the power to change things for the better.

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