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Letter to Congress on National Teacher Day

May 03, 2011

Dear Senators and Representatives:

Today is the 58th anniversary of National Teacher Day, the highlight of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is traditionally observed the first full week of May. To honor our nation’s 3.2 million teachers, Senators Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Murkowski (R-AK) have introduced a resolution, and Representatives Graves (R-MO) and Loebsack (D-IA) have introduced House Res. 227. We urge you to support these resolutions.

At the White House today, President Barack Obama is honoring NEA member Michelle Shearer, the pre-med student turned chemistry teacher who is the 2011 National Teacher of the Year. She captures students’ attention by making connections between scientific theories and real life at Urbana High School in Frederick County, Maryland. The other three finalists for the award are also NEA members: Annice Brave, a high school English and journalism teacher at Alton High School in Alton, Illinois; Cheryl Conley, a fourth-grade teacher at Osceola Magnet Elementary School in Vero Beach, Florida; and Paul Andersen, a ninth- through twelfth-grade biology teacher at Bozeman High School in Bozeman, Montana.

The achievements of these hard-working educators are not unique. From coast to coast, from urban enclaves to rural towns, educators exercise incredible expertise, creativity, and caring to equip the next generation of Americans to succeed—in school and in life. But they can’t do it alone.

“Teaching has always been challenging, but lately it’s become contentious as well. Unfairly criticizing teachers seems to be the nation’s latest political pastime. It’s unfair and it’s wrong,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel says in a recorded announcement airing on radio stations nationwide. “[This] is a perfect time to refocus the debate on creating great public schools for every student. It’s quite simple really: a highly qualified teacher working with involved parents supported by a community that values education. That’s what we should be debating. And everybody in that debate, especially teachers, should be treated with respect.” Hear the complete statement at For more information on events around in the country in honor of National Teacher Day, visit

A great way to express your appreciation for our nation’s teachers would be to join NEA’s Board of Directors at their reception for the 112th Congress on Thursday, May 5, 8:00 to 9:30 a.m., Rayburn House Office Building, Room 339. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Cathey Bernhard at 202-822-7343 or We hope to see you there!


Kim Anderson        
Director of Government Relations

Mary Kusler
Manager of Federal Advocacy