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NEA officer emphasizes that all students deserve great public schools

Becky Pringle participates in Essence Empowerment Seminar on Education

NEW ORLEANS - July 04, 2010 -

As thousands of educators came to New Orleans for NEA’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly so too did thousands of music lovers who traveled here for the Essence Music Festival.  Their interests overlapped yesterday at an Essence-sponsored African-American education summit. The summit, designed to promote student achievement in the African-American community and raise expectations for today’s young people, drew representatives from various public advocacy groups, national civic organizations and media outlets.

By bringing together education experts from around the nation, Essence wanted to identify solutions that parents, educators and students could use to empower students in the classroom and beyond. Panelists included educational consultant and higher education specialist Dr. Thelma Baxter, community liaison and arts advocate Nancy Devine, activist and scholar Dr. Andre Perry, community activists and special education advocate Karran Harper Royal, and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle. 

Pringle, a classroom teacher for 31 years, emphasized how important it is for parents and caregivers to support student learning and to be certain that all students have the tools and resources they need to succeed in school and in life. “We want all our children to be winners. Not just some of them,” Pringle stressed, “but all of them—regardless of how much money their parents make, where they live, or the color of their skin. Unfortunately, too many of the solutions and programs being offered today are for a few and not the majority.”  

In addition to the panel discussions, Dr. Bill Cosby, National Urban League President Marc Morial, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Essence founder Ed Lewis spoke to the crowd of more than a thousand. In their unique styles, Cosby and Sharpton each challenged the audience to confront the status quo, speak out in their communities on behalf of schools and children, and take their parenting responsibilities more seriously.

In closing, Pringle offered some words of caution: “If we don’t provide our children with the education they need now to compete in the emerging global economy, it’s not just bad for their futures, it’s bad for America’s future.”

To learn more about NEA and its programs to support communities of color, please visit: .

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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: Michelle Hudgins  (202) 412-8955,