Dear NEA members,
United, we will reclaim public education as a common good and transform it into a racially and socially just system that actually prepares every student—not one, not some, but every single student—to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world. Onward!
Face to Face with NEA Members
This fall was a whirlwind of school visits across the Midwest—in what I call the “Joy, Justice, and Excellence Tour”—where every person I talked to, every story I heard, gave me new insight into NEA members’ passion and resilience. My journey began in Pennsylvania, where I met educators like high school teacher Becky McLain, and then continued through Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. At my last stop, in Wisconsin, paraeducator Katrina Collins chatted with me about local efforts to create safe and just schools, promote equity, develop leaders, and more.
President Pringle visited several schools in the fall to hear from NEA members about their concerns, challenges, and successes this school year.
What I’m Reading
The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
I first heard Professor Amra Sabic-El-Rayess speak at last year’s meeting of NEA’s National Council of Urban Education Associations, where she shared her horrific experience of living through the Bosnian genocide. The terror and tragedy she faced took place decades ago and an ocean away. But her message is extremely relevant today, here in the United States.
As a Muslim teenager in Bosnia during the 1990s, Sabic-El-Rayess had friends and relatives who were raped, tortured, and killed simply because of their ethnicity. (Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, I’ll remind you about the men and women killed in the racially motivated shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, in Charleston, S.C., in 2015.) In Sabic-El-Rayess’ book, written for young adults, the main character is a teenager also named Amra. She describes the grim impact of war on her family and friends, but also finds moments of hope and humanity.