Fired up for Change!
The great Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said 2,000 years ago, “Each leaf is the tree.” From him we learned that each cell of a leaf contains the genetic pattern for the entire forest.
Like the leaf, you are not just student members of the National Education Association. Each of you is a complete representation of our entire organization. You are Team NEA! And we are all part of one vision: to advance the cause of public education.
We celebrated a major victory last year with the passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. This sweeping piece of legislation ensures that low-income students have access to higher education through need-based grants.
Because of your passion and vigilant advocacy, you have helped to change age-old policies and open the doors of opportunity for millions of students across the nation. You have also brought considerable attention to the crisis in college costs, student debt, and corruption of the lending process.
While I am grateful to every one of you for all your hard work that has helped us accomplish these things, we cannot rest. There is simply too much important work to be done.
This year our nation will choose new leadership at a time when we face unprecedented challenges in national security, foreign affairs, energy, the environment…and a new global economy. The choices we make this year will determine the direction we take on all of these issues, as well as the issue about which we all care so passionately—public education.
We need you to continue to stoke the fire of debate and generate ideas that will help us close the achievement gaps, improve teacher quality, fix No Child Left Behind, and elect a President and a Congress committed to public education. We need you to remain fired up and fed up with the status quo.
We need you to continue your advocacy, expand your outreach, and refuel your commitment to great public schools.
We are many voices, but we are committed as one to the principle that great public schools are a basic right of every child. As we work to be a positive force for change, we will encounter times of struggle and adversity.
I urge you to embrace the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “The ultimate measure of a man (or woman) is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
The National Education Association is proud of our NEA Student Program , and we look forward to a historic year.