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NEA president: economy and politicians impact students and schools

Van Roekel: we should invest in education and protect our children’s future

WASHINGTON - January 23, 2013 -

An annual report on union membership released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects the crisis of educational opportunity parents, students and educators have been experiencing across the country as a result of deep budget cuts and poor choices made by politicians. According to the report, between 2011 and 2012, the industries experiencing the largest job losses were in the public sector, with educational services leading the way.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement:

“Educators know firsthand that the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has been wreaking havoc in their schools and classrooms and with their students and families. It’s not a secret that some politicians chose to cut public education funding, balance the budgets on the backs of students and slash the education workforce, inflicting tremendous harm to our nation’s 50 million students and risking our children’s future.

“From coast to coast, millions of children are being forced to pay the price for some of these political choices: at a time when we should be investing in their future and preparing them to compete in the global economy, these kids are facing overcrowded classrooms, shorter school weeks, fewer librarians, fewer art and computer classes, and almost no after-school programs. On top of that, aspiring college students face mounting loads of debt due to the dwindling options for grant aid.

“What our children need is a well-rounded education to prepare them to compete in the global economy of the 21st century. The road to economy recovery runs directly through our nation’s schools. We should invest in our schools and protect our kids’ futures.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,