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Eskelsen travels to Indianapolis to kick off fight against Gov. Daniels’ anti-public education agenda


INDIANAPOLIS - February 20, 2011 -

NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen will join Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) President Nate Schnellenberger and ISTA members at a news conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. ET in the State House to show support for Indiana’s teachers and working families. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) has launched an attack against public employees and public school teachers, attempting to strip them of most collective bargaining rights and eliminate dues deduction, a convenient way for union members to pay dues.  Gov. Daniels’ plan will increase Indiana’s voucher and charter schools programs, giving already-limited public school funds to private school entities.

“Gov. Daniels is saying this legislation is about school reform, but none of it will improve Hoosier classrooms,” said Nate Schnellenberger, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.. “Instead of bills to provide full-day kindergarten or to improve classrooms and learning conditions, these bills silence the voices of public school teachers, remove their ability to speak up for what students need, and eviscerate teachers’ right to bargain.”

“All eyes are on Wisconsin educators and public workers right now, but the fight is also on in Indiana against what is surely an anti-union pattern by many governors around the country,” said Eskelsen. “We need to stop these distractions and get focused on what makes a difference for our students and our schools. Indiana’s working families can be assured that our 3.2 million members are behind them and those in other states fighting these politically-motivated bills to strip their bargaining rights away,” said Eskelsen.

Hundreds of member lobbyists will be in the State House on Tuesday meeting with General Assembly members to discuss the negative impact the legislation will have on Indiana working families. 

“Indiana teachers, along with friends and family, can stop this overwhelmingly negative legislation from passing so that we can all work on real solutions to strengthen Indiana's public schools,” said Schnellenberger. “We want to be clear:  we are standing up for the basic rights and dignity of educators and for great public schools for all students.”

Check out Lily’s blog at http://lilysblackboard.org
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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: Sara Robertson  (202) 230-8978, srobertson@nea.org