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Education is the great equalizer

NEA president responds to National Urban League’s annual report

WASHINGTON - March 26, 2010 -

The National Urban League annual report issued this week measures disparities in economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice. The State of Black America detailed significantly higher rates of unemployment for Blacks and Hispanics. The report says that whites over the age of 25 were more than one and a half times as likely as Blacks and two and a half times as likely as Hispanics to hold a bachelor's degree. The National Urban League’s publication also recognized drop out rates and achievement gaps as road blocks on the path to success.

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

“Education is the great equalizer…opening doors of opportunity for all. As a nation, we must be committed to providing education equity and resources all students need to succeed.

“It is unacceptable to allow inadequate and inequitable distribution of resources to many predominately minority schools. The lack of resources fuels the disparities. Too many of our neediest children lack access to programs that are essential to closing achievement gaps. Early childhood education, afterschool programs, the arts, innovative curricula and extended learning time programs are keys to future success.

“NEA has demonstrated its long-standing commitment through grants, programs and teacher training. We stand with the National Urban League in efforts to apply continued pressure to realize the human and civil right every student has to a quality public education.

“A solid K-12 education paves the way for college, which prepares students for jobs. You cannot effectively solve the jobs crisis without addressing the gap in educational attainment. We must create jobs, but also ensure people have the proper education and skills to fill those jobs. College accessibility and affordability are critical.

“NEA will continue to advocate for sound federal policies that address education issues and spur job creation and retention.”

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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: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823,