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Lily’s Blackboard

Educators love a challenge. The responsibility to inspire each and every student gets us going. Even the struggles we face are worthwhile because we always trust that we and our students will make it to the other side, all of us stronger for the journey.

Which brings me to the election and what lies ahead.

Indeed, we have a challenge. Not only do we have a president-elect who shows no particular understanding of or appreciation for public education, but also a potential secretary of education—Betsy DeVos—who has spent decades undercutting public schools by advancing voucher programs and other corporate-reform tactics.

It would be easy to talk about giving up, moving to Canada, or hibernating for the next four years. But that is not our way. Instead, we embrace this as the beginning of a new chapter: We won’t mourn. We will organize. 

In that spirit, we embrace the awesome privilege of comforting our children, alleviating their fears, and being a force for good in the world. We must ensure that the worst of what we all heard during the campaign does not become a reality—by standing up for what is right, standing firm against beliefs and mindsets we know are wrong and standing strong to build a better future.

We must ensure that the threats to communities of color and immigrants and Muslims end. We must empower our mothers, sisters, and daughters who were demeaned by the trivialization of sexual assault during the presidential campaign to continue the fight to elevate respect. We must work every day to make sure that bullying is not normalized.

We want every child’s potential to be fulfilled, and we will never stand by as that potential is cut short. To that end, we must fight alongside our many partners to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act in ways that provide more resources to the schools and communities that are desperately in need, whether that means better access to challenging curricula or support services like health and nutrition. 

We will promote our values of opportunity, student success, and quality—and most of all, love. And we will continue to be the frontline in defense of these ideals.

We will look to enlightened leaders across this country who we know will put children and families at the forefront of every decision.

Now more than ever, we must double our resolve to bring people together and focus on building a future for all Americans, where dreams outweigh fears and hope overtakes anger and hate. We are educators. We are stronger together and we will never give up on what we hold dear.

Lily Eskelsen-García
NEA President

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