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NEA members to participate in historic education conference

Spotlight will shine on labor-management collaboration that boosts student achievement

WASHINGTON - January 24, 2011 -

Teams representing 150 school districts across the country will participate in a national conference on improving student achievement through labor-management collaboration. The event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in partnership with the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and other education organizations, will be held February 15-16 in Denver. Each team, composed of the local union or association leader, superintendent and school board president, will share strategies on using labor-management collaboration to transform schools.

“No one understands the problems facing America’s public schools as acutely as the teachers and support professionals who work in these schools daily. Collaboration between these stakeholders and school leaders is critical to ensuring that all students have access to a quality public education,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “I’m proud that so many NEA affiliates are working in innovative and creative labor-management partnerships that directly benefit students.”

Seventy-seven of the school districts are represented by NEA, the nation’s largest educators’ union. Forty-seven of the districts, including all of the locals from Florida, Minnesota, Montana and New York, are represented jointly by NEA and AFT. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Van Roekel and AFT President Randi Weingarten announced plans for this summit last October when they drew public attention to an innovative labor agreement that is helping to transform public schools in Florida’s Hillsborough County.

The 150 teams, which represent school districts in 40 states, are all committed to working together to improve schools. All participants have signed a statement promising to expand their collaborative efforts. Participants will also hear from 13 school district teams that will share the fruits of their labor-management collaboration and offer lessons learned.

“Our members and affiliates across America are essential allies in the effort to boost student achievement and transform schools,” Van Roekel added. “NEA continues to expand its Priority Schools Campaign to improve low-performing schools. We’ve seen some campfires of excellence, but campfires by definition are not supposed to spread. We want to create brushfires of excellence. The conference will shine a national spotlight on this important work, and participants will learn and share ideas on what works.”

Van Roekel will attend the conference, along with leaders from partnering organizations: AFT, National School Boards Association, American Association of School Administrators, Council of Great City Schools, and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Funding for the conference is being provided by the Ford Foundation.

Labor-Management Collaboration Conference Attendees

The 13 teams that will highlight examples of progressive labor management relations policies and agreements are: ABC Unified and Green Dot Charter from California; Denver County School District 1 and Douglas County from Colorado; New Haven, Connecticut; D.C.; Hillsborough, Florida; Baltimore City Public Schools and Montgomery County from Maryland; Saint Francis, Minnesota; Helena, Montana; Forsyth County, North Carolina; and Plattsburgh, New York.

To view the list of invited districts represented by NEA:

To view the list of invited districts represented jointly by NEA and AFT:

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: Ramona Parks-Kirby  (202) 822-7823,