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Message from the Chair

Time to Raise Our Collective Voice

Anthony Daniels Jr.

When we chose to become educators, we made a commitment to serve others. Right now, you’re preparing yourselves individually—taking care of coursework and going the extra mile in your student teaching, for example—so that you can excel as educators and truly make a difference in the classroom.

But to make a difference beyond the classroom, “tomorrow’s teachers” must also join together as a collective force—there is truly strength in numbers. And that’s where your NEA membership comes in.

With 3.2 million members, NEA lobbies for pro-education legislation, protects the rights of teachers and students, and enriches educators’ careers with professional training and assistance. Why join now while you’re still a student? Because the NEA Student Program provides you with tools, resources, and connections so you can become a better teacher, as well as an effective advocate for education.

Our community outreach extends to popular programs such as Read Across America, Outreach to Teach, and Get Out the Vote drives. Just listen to student member Averill Kelley of the University of Nevada, Reno: “NEA keeps me informed on important issues and taught me a very valuable lesson: If you push hard enough your voice will be heard.”

Our voices were heard loud and clear during our college affordability campaign. In September 2007, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction Act, a bill that increases Pell Grant scholarships and decreases interest rates on need-based federal student loans.

In addition to exhaustive letter-writing and petition drives by our members, we maximized the use of today’s technologies—text messaging to student members’ cell phones, communities on Facebook and MySpace, and blogs—to be efficient and connected. We will continue to be innovative in keeping our members active and engaged in issues that affect them on a local, state, or national level.

As I close out my two-year term as Student Program Chair I want to thank sincerely all the future educators who have been the engine behind our accomplishments.

The children of America need us to be excellent teachers in the classroom, but they also need us to stand together for public education. The stronger we are collectively, the greater opportunities we’ll have to help our students perform beyond even their own expectations.

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