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Actor Matt Damon is top choice for substitute educator for a day

American Education Week concludes with “substitute educator” poll


WASHINGTON - November 18, 2011 -

Award-winning screenwriter, actor and philanthropist Matt Damon would make a great “substitute educator for a day,” according to an online poll conducted during American Education Week. Results from the National Education Association’s (NEA) fifth annual Substitute Educators Day online poll reveal that 84 percent of respondents would like to see Damon at the head of the class for a day. Substitute Educator’s Day was established by NEA to increase awareness and appreciation of school substitute employees, professional educators who perform vital functions in schools.

“NEA’s online audience clearly appreciates Matt Damon’s support of public schools, and they could see him as a substitute educator.  Substitute educators will step in at a moment’s notice to ensure continuity in learning and provide a seamless transition for students when regular educators are absent,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “That’s why it is so important to take this time to honor substitute educators.”

Given the choice among Damon, actress Betty White, basketball star LeBron James, actress Penelope Cruz, and journalist Ann Curry, Americans  overwhelmingly  chose Damon as the person they would most like to see in the classroom as a substitute teacher.

Damon is no stranger to education. His mother, Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Ed.D, is a professor of early childhood education at Lesley University in Massachusetts.  In addition, Damon narrated American Teacher, a recent documentary film about five K-12 public school educators from across the country as they navigate the daily challenges of balancing their teaching careers with their personal lives. Damon gave a passionate speech at last summer’s Save Our Schools march in Washington D.C.  The march drew thousands of educators from across the country to speak out against current education policies. 

In response to being chosen the 2010 celebrity “substitute educator for a day,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper, recently spent a day in a classroom with kindergartners as a their “substitute teacher.” 

Respondents to the online poll included NEA members and the general public. The poll was one of many activities nationwide to celebrate the 90th annual American Education Week.

For more information about American Education Week, visit www.nea.org/aew.
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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: Christiana Campos  (202) 822-7823, ccampos@nea.org