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From Our President

Becky's Journal of Joy, Justice, and Excellence August 2023

NEA's president honors distinguished educators, fights for educators' rights in Florida, and shares a resource to help us understand and better serve students with autism.
NEA President Becky Pringle raises her arms and cheers with the crowd at the July 5 2023 Freedom to Learn rally in Orlando
NEA President Becky Pringle cheers with the crowd at the July 5, 2023, Freedom to Learn rally in Orlando, Florida.

Dear NEA members,

I am honored to serve as your president. 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

“There’s a party goin’ on right here! A celebration … ” of you! This spring, and at the NEA Representative Assembly in July, we honored the NEA Education Support Professional of the Year and the 2023 Teacher of the Year. Pamella Johnson and Rebecka Peterson are the best of us, but they are also all of us. They’re smart—like you. They’re focused—like you.

But what I love most of all, they’re also joyful—as I hope we all can be. Even in the face of our relentless challenges, Pamella and Rebecka find joy in their work and in their relationships with students and colleagues. For years, Rebecka has blogged daily about “one good thing” that has happened in her classroom. I am inspired by this. Our collective work as educators is important and hard. But we must not forget that this work is also full of joy—and it’s that daily joy that focuses and sustains us.

So, like the man said, ”Bring your good times and your laughter, too.” Congratulations to Pamella and Rebecka—and to all of you!

NEA President Becky Pringle stands at a podium with 2023 Education Support Professional of the Year Pamella Johnson
Congratulations to NEA ESP of the Year Pamella Johnson! Credit: Andrea Kane
2023 National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson stands in the White House Rose Garden with NEA President Becky Pringle and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria
I was thrilled to visit the White House (home of NEA member Jill Biden) with Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria. Credit: Kim A. Anderson

What I'm Reading

front cover of the book hidden brilliance: unlocking the intelligence of autism

When I began teaching, an estimated 1 in 5,000 students were thought to have autism. Today, it’s 1 in 54. We can debate the reasons why, but I don’t think we have time for that. The urgent question is: How do we support students with autism, and do our systems work for all children? For answers, I recommend the new book, Hidden Brilliance: Unlocking the Intelligence of Autism, co-authored by Stanford professor Lynn Kern Koegel and Claire LaZebnik. It’s full of practical advice for parents and educators, rooted in solid child development research.

I especially appreciated the chapter on how standardized tests are failing autistic children. Of course, they are! Educators have long understood that standardized tests are inaccurate and unfair and don’t measure what students know. (To learn more about building better alternatives for students, check out

3 Things to Do for Yourself and Your Union

Black woman leaning on railing and texting on her mobile phone

Learn how to be an EdActivist

We have a new way to fight for public schools. And it doesn’t involve much more than your phone—and your time.
photo of blonde-haired educator speaking to a brown-haired educator in a classroom

Meet your new colleagues

And tell them about NEA! Our union is only as strong as our relationships with each other. During the first days of school, introduce yourself to the new person in the office or down the hall. Tell your new colleague that you—and our union—are here to support them.
2023 National Teacher of the Year Rebecka Peterson stands in the White House Rose Garden with NEA President Becky Pringle and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Noel Candelaria

Make a self-care plan

Maybe you like to read. (I love it!) Maybe you like to craft. (Make me something! I love other people’s crafts.) Whatever it is, before the school year gets underway, put time on your schedule to regularly do that thing that calms you and makes you feel whole. Check out more good advice on this topic from Ohio counselor Taraja Shephard Allen, in our article, “7 Ways to Make This a Great School Year.”

Follow @BeckyPringle

And get the latest from NEA's President.

On Educator Salaries

“Educators who dedicate their lives to students shouldn't be struggling to support their own families. A career in education must not be a lifetime sentence of financial worry. Who will choose to teach under those circumstances?” —in Education Week, April 24, 2023
Read more

On the Freedom to Teach

“We know our students’ ability to achieve [depends on] their freedom to live, to learn, to read, and to thrive. We cannot and will not allow politicians to grasp and hold on to fear, limiting our students’ access to an honest and complete education.” —“The Power of Truth,” NEA webinar, April 19
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.