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Nation’s educators applaud president’s plans to invest in education

Making education a national priority is a way out of economic crisis

WASHINGTON - January 27, 2010 -

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel tonight expressed support for concepts outlined in President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address to improve elementary and secondary education in America and make it possible for more Americans to attend college.  

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“The President made it very clear tonight that he refuses to sacrifice the education opportunities available to Americans as a way of digging out of our economic crisis.  A country that makes education a priority is a country bound for economic success.

“We applaud the President’s promise to improve our schools by investing in what works.  NEA members have worked years under the flawed No Child Left Behind law, so we are anxious to work with the administration to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary  Education Act in a way that celebrates successful students, educators, and schools. We know that reauthorizing this law won’t be easy, but like the President, we believe the success of our children should not depend more on where they live than their potential.  We don’t know all the details of the proposals suggested by President Obama in his State of the Union address, but we agree with him that one of the best anti-poverty programs is a world-class education. 

“We know that education helps to improve the standard of living for individuals and American families.  We support the President’s plan to transform the federal student loan program and make college more accessible for a greater number of Americans. It just makes sense to invest in our students, not banks and private companies. We especially like his proposal to forgive some student loan debt for students who choose careers in public service. And, we join him in urging the Senate to pass legislation to help revitalize community colleges.

Listen to an interview with NEA President Dennis Van Roekel on the State of the Union address

“The need for a dramatic plan to create more jobs and put more Americans back to work has never been more urgent.  We hope that the jobs bill will include additional funding to help rebuild and restore the nation’s crumbling public school buildings. We know that safe and modern environments are essential for student learning and success. Our experience tells us that students learn better in classes with fewer students and that laying off educators is a sure path to stunting innovation and impeding America’s prosperity.  We thank President Obama for acknowledging all of this in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and we applaud his plans to build on that effort.

“Finally, we’ve faced some very tough challenges, individually and collectively as a nation.  The President rightfully acknowledged the pain and sacrifices of working families over the past year. President Obama has demonstrated courage and leadership in tackling some very tough issues, but we know that the battle between policy and politics will continue. We move forward with confidence that with a shared vision for America, collaboration and hard work – the best is yet to come.”

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:  Rene Carter (202) 822-7823,