Right Here, Right Now
Photo by Rick Runion
I’ve often said that elections matter. But it’s too easy to look at that statement in the abstract, in terms of inside-the-Beltway political maneuvering and media spin. That makes it too easy to forget that the outcome of elections can affect the daily lives—and the livelihoods—of educators across the country.
Case in point: For a year, NEA fought for a jobs bill on Capitol Hill. We brought our members and state affiliate leaders to Washington to confront their members of Congress and insist that lawmakers do what common decency demands: keep teachers and education support professionals in their jobs. Their visits were supplemented with tens of thousands of postcards, emails, and personal calls from our members to their representatives in Congress. We used our collective voice to forcefully argue that the education jobs bill was good for America’s students and smart economics.
In August, the bill passed the House and Senate and was signed by President Obama, providing $10 billion in federal aid to states to avert layoffs of educators. This tremendous victory for America’s students and public schools wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and support of members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and leaders of the House and the Senate. That’s why elections are so important. And this year is no exception.
Eight years of testing mania since Congress passed No Child Left Behind is long enough. Congress needs to fix this law, and the November elections could have a huge impact on what happens in the upcoming ESEA renewal.
There are very competitive races for governor and U.S. senator across the country, and we can’t afford to sit these out. Also, this is the year of the Census, and the state legislators and governors elected in November will determine the Congressional districts for the next 10 years. So this election will have an impact for at least a decade.
We have an opportunity—right now—to influence the next iteration of ESEA. We have an opportunity—right now—to help determine the course of public education in our country for the next generation. But in order to have a voice in the policy discussion, we must be involved in politics.
Elections have consequences. We must seize this opportunity—right now—while it is within our grasp.
NEA President Dennis Van Roekel
NEW ONLINE TOOLS FOR POLITICAL ACTIVISM
The NEA Fund’s online fundraising website allows you to create your personal fundraising page and raise grassroots donations from fellow NEA members and supporters. It’s an exciting new way to help strengthen the NEA Fund—the voice of public education in Washington, D.C. To sign up, visit the NEA Fund's website. It’s easy. And it’s quick.