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A Message From the President

Happy Anniversary, NEA-Retired!

—Barbara Matteson

I was recently asked why I joined NEA-Retired. So many reasons! Where to begin?

Here’s my best effort to sum it up: Dedicated teachers are so proud of their profession that they want to maintain a connection to it after they retire.

That’s how I felt when I joined the association, and the founding members inter-viewed for this issue’s cover story gave similar reasons.

I’d heard that NEA-Retired was politically active and I believed it could make a difference. All of that was confirmed when, just a few years after I joined, my state association, Arizona Education Association-Retired, initiated a movement to get constitutional protection for our retirement system.

We applied for an NEA grant, formed a coalition with other affected groups, and in working with bipartisan legislators, got a referendum on the ballot. After five years of hard work, we passed Proposition 100 with 68 percent of the vote.

It’s an incredible source of pride that AEA-R was a leader in ensuring the safety of our retirement system for generations to come. Every NEA chapter has its own list of proudest achievements, whether it’s supporting active members during bargaining, campaigning for pro-public education candidates, rallying the troops for Read Across America, or mentoring new teachers in local schools.

So what’s next for us? I know that NEA-Retired will continue to support active educators and help draw attention to retirement issues like pensions and health care.

I know we’ll keep going out for pro-education candidates for offices at every level—as I write this, we’re just weeks away from finding out if our efforts will pay off at the polls in an election of historic proportions. I see us working as an integral part of the NEA family to make Great Public Schools for Every Child a reality.

When we put our minds to work collectively for the common good, we are able to accomplish things that each and every one of us can be proud of.

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