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Human and Civil Rights

Human and Civil Rights

Advocacy in Action

NEA Human and Civil Rights understands that education advocacy and social justice advocacy go hand in hand, and that an increasingly diverse kaleidoscope of students and educators must feel welcome in our public schools. 


Rising to The Challenge of the Ferguson Decision

The decision not to charge a police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen has reverberated through the nation, sparking a national debate about justice and civil rights. This is a troubling and confusing time  for our students, and educators will do what they always do in a crisis: step up and put the needs of their students first. They’ll provide students with a safe place to talk about America’s founding values of equality and justice for all. They’ll remind them that America is a work in progress and that one day they will have an opportunity to make ours a more perfect union. Above all, they’ll nurture hope. Good people working together can bend the arc of history toward justice—Dr. King was right. The next generation of Americans can take on racial divisions and bury them deep in our native ground.

  • In times of tragedy and uncertainty, schools serve as a place of normalcy for students. In response to the specific needs of educators for resources around the Ferguson shooting, NEA has developed materials to assist educators, parents, and the community as we continue our collective fight for social justice for all.

Ramping Up Our Advocacy for Native Youth

How can we be better advocates for America’s first students? As Native American Heritage Month gets underway, NEA is partnering with national Native organizations on a series of education roundtables that will bring together students, educators, parents, and community members to help answer this question. The roundtables, set to take place early next year, will provide a forum for American Indian and Alaska Native youth to share issues they face in and out of school.

  • Get up to speed on the education of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students with Native Education 101 ( PDF, 912 KB, 26 pgs.), a joint National Indian Education Association and NEA publication.
  • Explore Native American history and contemporary life with classroom lessons and other resources developed by the National Museum of the American Indian and Native community members. See more grade-level lesson plans and activities.
  • Visit Vision Maker Media for grade appropriate Native films with accompanying lesson plans and other school resources. Download a poster
    ( PDF, 1.13 MB, 1 pg.) of award-winning films for your classroom.
  • Read NEA’s interview with Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, about the impact of stereotypes on Native students and educators as agents of change.

Equal Footing for Schools

It’s no mystery America’s schools are widely unequal. If you’re fortunate enough to attend school in a well-heeled neighborhood, you’re more likely to have access to a rich curriculum, experienced educators, and state of the art facilities. Yet, 60 years after Brown v. Board, students with access are still far less likely to be minority, English Language Learners, or low-income. Now, educators and activists fed up with inequity have a new resource in their arsenal. The U.S. Department of Education has announced practical steps, in the form of a Dear Colleague letter and other guidance materials, to ensure America’s students—regardless of race, color, national origin, or zip code—have equal access to a high-quality public education.

Are your students msising out on the resources they need? Tell us your school's story and we'll send it to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

Higher Rates of Poverty Among LGBTQ Americans

LGBTQ students will pay an unfair economic price over their lifetimes asserts a new report that links significantly higher rates of poverty among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans  to discriminatory laws and customs. Read more . . .





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