WASHINGTON - Nearly 8,000 educator delegates gathered virtually for the National Education Association’s 100th Representative Assembly (RA) and approved a measure to continue the Association’s work to ensure safe, just and equitable schools for all students. The RA is the top decision-making body of the more than 3 million-member NEA and sets association policy and priorities for the upcoming year. Delegates approved the new business item as the nation continues to wrestle with the global pandemic, growing economic insecurity, and social and racial unrest. In the forefront of educators’ lives and their students’ are recent attacks on teaching the truth as politicians in at least 25 states passed or are considering passing laws that would restrict what they can and cannot teach to students in the classroom about race and racism and denying students the right to a truthful and honest education.
The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“This year has defined what it means to reckon with our past, advocate for better in our present, and expand the possibilities for our future. Schools are part of what ties our communities together and shape our children’s lives. We believe in and want safe, just, and equitable schools for all students, regardless of race and place. Some may try to divide us, but we know that by working together, we will create public schools that affirm students’ and educators’ full identities, their creativity and environments in which to thrive.
“The timely and important measure the delegates approved today will build on existing education justice work already underway and will go a long way towards ensuring an education system, economy, and democracy that works for all of us. No exceptions. The measure also will lay the groundwork to make it possible for every child, whatever their color or background, to pursue their dreams and live a fulfilling life.”
In addition to establishing a task force that identifies the criteria for safe, just, and equitable schools, including exploring the role of law enforcement in education and compiling needed data, the measure calls for, among other things, working with national partners, state and local affiliates, racial justice advocates, allies, and community activists, and engaging in campaigns that lead towards ensuring every neighborhood public school is a place where every student can learn, grow, and thrive.
The measure calls for NEA to support campaigns that:
- Eliminate the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipeline;
- Seek to remedy economic justice issues including, affordable housing, housing insecurity, food insecurity, and access to health care and childcare;
- Advocate for just funding formulas that address resource disparities based upon race, income, and geographic wealth patterns, and advocate for no-cost higher education; and
- Train specific school personnel to be full-time restorative practice coordinators and provide all school employees with professional development around cultural responsiveness, implicit bias, anti-racism, trauma-informed practices, restorative justice practices and other racial justice trainings
To learn more about the approved measure and read the remaining work, please click here.
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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, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.