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NEA president supports agenda for strengthening America's public schools

WASHINGTON - September 24, 2008 -

The Coalition for Community Schools today unveiled "The Community Agenda for America's Public Schools," which will focus on bringing together schools and communities in partnerships to improve student outcomes and provide solutions to improve the lives of struggling youth, families and neighborhoods. The National Education Association is one the endorsers of the Community Agenda, which includes a broad range of community-based, education, health, youth, higher education, and parent-focused organizations.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

"In the current era of testing, labeling and punishing public schools, the Community Agenda for America's Public Schools is like a breath of fresh air. I agree with the Coalition for Community Schools that we need an improved strategy for public schools, one that moves away from a schools-only, test-based approach under the federal No Child Left Behind Act to an integrated and comprehensive approach that treats schools as centers of the community-open to everyone, all day, every day, evenings and weekends.

"The principles and conditions outlined by the Coalition for Community Schools-integrated services, qualified teachers, motivated students, mutual respect and community engagement-are fully in line with what the NEA is advocating to fulfill the promise of great public schools for all students, regardless of where they live, how much money their parents have, or what languages they speak.

"We stand with the Coalition for Community Schools and the partners that endorsed the Community Agenda to bring together the key initiatives to improve student achievement and build stronger families and healthier communities."

For additional information about NEA, please visit:

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 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