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NEA president emphasizes collaboration is key to transforming schools

WASHINGTON - April 07, 2011 -

National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel today joined other community and education leaders in a panel discussion on education policy at the National Action Network 20th Anniversary National Convention. He stressed the need for lawmakers in Washington and across the country to do more to ensure that all students receive the education and support they need to succeed in life.

“Many of our children are facing a crisis when it comes to being prepared for the next stage of their lives,” said Van Roekel. “We cannot afford to wait for balanced budgets and lofty reform bills to make their way through Congress. We must take immediate action and demand that all students have the tools and basic resources they need to get an education, find a job and make meaningful contributions to society.

“NEA is not waiting for bureaucratic intervention. We are already investing significant resources—through our Priority Schools Campaign, strategic partnerships and grassroots activities—on school transformation efforts. We urge National Action Network members and citizens across the country to join us in our work to help create great public schools for all students. We have no time to waste. Students need our help now.”

NEA’s Minority Community Outreach Department hosted a booth at the conference, where staff members distributed educational materials, provided subject matter expertise and answered questions.

As head of the 3.2 million-member NEA, an organization committed to the idea that all students have the right to a great public education, Van Roekel is on the road to galvanize support for public education and to urge all community members—parents, educators, elected officials, policymakers, business leaders, and others—to work together to ensure adequate and equitable funding for all of America’s schools.  

Van Roekel challenged National Action Network members to work collaboratively with other education groups to make public schools better for all students. “We stand united on important issues such as education, jobs, health care, bargaining rights and retirement security. We need to raise our collective voices and speak up for these issues that mean so much to all of us.”

National Action Network (NAN) is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation. Founded in 1991 by the Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda. That agenda includes the fight for social justice, education, and one standard of justice and decency for all people regardless of race, religion, national origin, and gender. NAN works tirelessly to protect civil rights and respond to crises across the country.

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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: Michelle Hudgins  (202) 822-7823,