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NEA president praises Obama’s proposed budget

Plan underscores President’s commitment to education

WASHINGTON - February 13, 2012 -

President Barack Obama today released his FY13 budget, which targets areas critical to growing the economy and restoring the middle class, including education and building skills for American workers.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel praised the president for his budget that calls for investing in education. “President Obama continues to make clear his commitment to students, especially the most disadvantaged, by advocating a deep investment in education and college affordability,” said Van Roekel. “The president pushes both immediate support through grants and for innovative changes designed to improve access to higher education.” 

President Obama’s plan calls for maintaining the maximum Pell Grants award, increasing the Perkins Loan Program, providing needed support for community colleges to meet the needs of local and regional job markets, and boosting teacher education programs at minority-serving institutions.  

The proposed budget includes $30 billion to modernize at least 35,000 schools and $30 billion to help states and localities retain and hire first responders and educators, as well as support the teaching profession. That clearly shows the president’s commitment to keeping teachers in classrooms, which will help address growing class sizes, and to providing assistance to states and locals facing tough economic times.

“The president wants what parents, NEA members and indeed all Americans want—we want every student in America, regardless of age, to have the tools and resources necessary to succeed,” said Van Roekel.  “One of the Administration’s goals is to work with educators, school and district leaders, associations and unions, and state and national education organizations to spark a dialogue to transform the teaching profession and to establish teaching as a respected profession on a par with medicine, law and engineering.”

The president’s proposed budget comes at a time when policymakers in Washington, D.C., have starkly different visions for America. “President Obama’s vision is one of hope and of a fairer and more just America that asks the most wealthy to do more to support opportunities for all,” said Van Roekel. “His budget offers hope to those disadvantaged children by investing in their education and providing pathways to good jobs and further educational opportunities."

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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) 822-7823,