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NEA Partners with Lionsgate to present Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire

Film shows power of educators to change students’ lives

WASHINGTON - November 06, 2009 -

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel announced today that the organization has partnered with Lionsgate to present Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, hosting the Washington, D.C., premiere and panel discussion, as well as promoting the film’s portrayal of quality educators and their impact on students with screenings and a teacher’s guide to NEA members across the country.

Executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, Lee Daniels’ Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire covers many issues, but shows the power of a single teacher to transform lives under difficult circumstances.

“NEA recognizes and applauds this powerful film that explores so many brutal but urgent issues facing students and teachers every day,” said Van Roekel.

“If we truly want children to know that they are precious, we must ensure that the hardest cases are met with highly trained teachers who are equipped to guide these students to self-worth and a better future provided by literacy and addressing the whole child.”

Precious is one of the most celebrated films of the year—a vibrant, honest and resoundingly hopeful film about the human capacity to grow and overcome even the most seemingly insurmountable circumstances.  Precious touches on the compelling, real-life issues of urban educational failure, generational poverty, abuse and neglect. It tells the story of Claireece Precious Jones, 16 years old, growing up on the unforgiving streets of 1987 Harlem.  All but abandoned by the people and systems that are supposed to protect and nurture her, Precious finds a lifeline when she enrolls in an alternative school, where she learns to read, write and trust her own voice. As Precious discovers her own potential and worth, she is able to break the chains of her circumstances, and pursue her vision of a better future, for herself and for her children.  

Precious features a powerhouse cast that includes Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd, Lenny Kravitz, and acclaimed newcomer Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe in the title role.

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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.

CONTACT: Jody Arlington  (202) 339-9598,