Five Reasons to Vote This November
More testing? No thanks. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind, is up for reauthorization this year. Finally! Here’s a chance to move Congress away from its current test-and-punish approach and toward policies that actually promote teaching and learning. We know it’s going to take a strong, unified effort by NEA and its members, plus pro-public education candidates who will actually listen to the people who know best. “Teachers don’t like to be political, but I’m realizing if we’re going to teach we need to be political,” wrote Washington teacher Jane Watson on an NEA NCLB discussion board. Right on.
The $10 billion Education Jobs Fund that passed Congress in August—due to the persistence of NEA members and our pro-public education friends in Congress—doesn’t solve all of our funding woes. Not by a long shot. Class sizes are still too large and educators are still spending far too much of their own cash to support their classrooms. It boggles the mind that the richest nation on Earth can’t afford pencils for public schools, and frankly, we think it’s a matter of priorities. So consider this: Who will put education at the top of their list? Vote for them.
College affordabilityGreat strides have been made toward college affordability in the past year, including more money for Pell Grants and greater availability of low-interest student loans through direct-lending federal programs. But still more work needs to be done. Every year, increasing numbers of graduates owe more than $20,000. “I owe about $85,000 in student loans,” New York teacher Audrey Padilla told NEA. “Although I’m trying to be optimistic, positive thinking can only take you so far. I wish members of Congress could see the unfortunate situation that many of our nation’s teachers are facing… .” And do something about it!
Your retirementWhen you go to vote this November, think about Betty Porrazzo. More than 40 years after her husband was killed in Vietnam, Porrazzo is still struggling to get her rightful Social Security survivor benefits. Why? Because of two little-known offsets (GPO and WEP) that cut benefits to public employees. Fixing them remains a priority of the NEA—as does protecting state pension systems, which are under attack across the country. This is money that you were promised, that you earned, and that you need for a secure retirement. When you go to the polls in November, think about who will protect your retirement and keep those promises.
Union powerStrength in numbers! Alone, none of us has much of a chance of convincing any politician that early childhood education programs should be better funded, or privatization of support services is a really terrible idea. But when union members get together, get organized, and provide a strong, unified voice, we get it done! Just look at the Education Jobs Bill, which provided $10 billion to rehire laid-off teachers. That was because of you. Because you lent your collective voice and weight to an issue that really mattered. Learn more about the issues that really matter in this election—and post-election. Find out what's at stake this November by visiting our Campaign 2010 web site.
Candid Conversation: Why Politics Matter in Public Education
NEA Executive Officers Dennis Van Roekel, Lily Eskelsen, and Becky Pringle discuss the importance of politics in public education.
Education Has To Be a Priority
Virginia educators speak with NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen about the issues affecting their classrooms and why public education needs to be a political priority.
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Visit our Education Votes site to share your story and read about other actions you can take to make sure your voice is heard on the issues that matter the most.
- Learn more about NEA's positions on NCLB and its Positive Agenda for ESEA Reauthorization.
- Read NEA's letter to Congress about adequate education funding.
- Sign NEA's petition, demanding that Congress repeal unfair Social Security offsets.