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Nation’s public schools celebrate American Education Week

Education Secretary, Gov. O’Malley join NEA president at event celebrating public education

WASHINGTON - November 15, 2010 -

The National Education Association (NEA) will join the nation in celebrating American Education Week (AEW), which will be held November 14-20. The annual commemoration, now in its 89th year, shines a spotlight on the important work of creating great public schools for all of our students.

The week’s theme, Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility, is a reminder that educators, parents, community members, business leaders, elected officials, and students all have a part to play in supporting great schools. NEA believes that all students deserve an education that will allow them to achieve and succeed in the 21st century.

“American Education Week reminds us that our public schools are a shared responsibility,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Each of us must do our part to support student growth and achievement. All of us—educators, students, parents and communities—must work together to transform our schools so that every student has access to a great public school.”

During American Education Week, NEA Executive Committee members will visit low-performing schools that are part of NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign. In this campaign, NEA and its members are working to improve student achievement through a collaborative transformation model.

Each day of American Education Week will spotlight a different aspect of school life:

Monday, November 15: Thank You to All Educators
Across the nation, Americans are sponsoring special events and activities to thank educators and celebrate public education. NEA members will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery to honor fallen educators who have served in our country’s armed forces.

Tuesday, November 16: Parents' Day
Schools are inviting parents into classrooms to experience a day in the life of students. NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen talks about the critical role parents play in students’ success: 

Wednesday, November 17: Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day
Schools and communities are honoring Education Support Professionals for their commitment to students. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, ESP of the Year Helen Cottongim, and NEA ESP Chair Laura Montgomery will visit John Adams Elementary School and Mt. Vernon Community School in Alexandria, Va., to recognize the dedication and hard work of the school’s ESPs. On NEA’s website, NEA Secretary Treasurer Becky Pringle talks about how ESPs round out the total team of educators in a school:

Thursday, November 18: Educator for a Day
Community leaders are being invited to teach a lesson or visit a class and connect with public school students and teachers. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will visit Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.

Friday, November 19: Substitute Educators Day
This day honors the educators who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers. Vote for your favorite celebrity substitute educator at

“American Education Week serves as a tribute to the team of people who work with our students, everyone from the classroom teacher and the bus driver to the cafeteria worker and the administrative staff—plus countless others,” said Van Roekel. “We honor and thank them for the work they do every day to make sure that our students are safe and ready and able to learn.”

Celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving, American Education Week began in 1921 with the NEA and the American Legion as cosponsors. The goal was to generate public awareness and support for education because of concerns over illiteracy. A year later, the U.S. Office of Education signed on, and the PTA followed in 1938.

Cosponsors now include the U.S. Department of Education, National PTA, the American Legion, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Counselor Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the National School Public Relations Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

For more information on American Education Week visit
For more information on NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign, visit:
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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee 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: Celeste Busser  (202) 822-7823,