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A Message from NEA-Retired President

We Have a Voice—Let’s Use It!

NEA-Retired President, Barbara Matteson
Between the economy, the unemployment rate, and the battle over health care, the news of the day is sometimes over-whelming. But as NEA President Dennis VanRoekel said at the NEA-Retired Annual Meeting in June, we’ve entered an era of new possibilities for public education.

The Association has already been invited to the White House more times in the past six months than during the previous eight years. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan not only held a town hall at this year’s Representative Assembly, he is also slated to meet monthly with Dennis. Our voice is strong, and now there’s even more possibility we will be heard by the decision makers who affect our lives and our schools. Clearly, this is no time to get quiet.

With tens of thousands of educators across the country receiving pink slips, NEA is expecting losses in membership
over the next year. As Retired members, we must do all we can to boost our membership and help our active Associations maintain their numbers as best as possible. We are all in this together.

Health care reform is another issue that NEA-Retired members must speak out about. Remember when illegal tactics and late-night wrangling led to the passage of the Medicare Prescription Drug bill in 2003?  We worked hard to defeat that bill, but we were defeated. Let’s not allow late-night deals to determine what will happen to our health care system.

NEA supports these components of a health reform plan: quality health care coverage for all; a public plan option; and no taxing of health benefits.

We should also support creating an opportunity for early retirees, ages 55–64 to buy into Medicare; repealing the prohibition against Medicare negotiating volume discounts on prescription drugs; and ending taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies that run Medicare Advantage programs—talk about potential for cost savings!

Speak up! Contact your members of Congress and ask them to pass true reform. The power of the people is stronger if we all work together. We did it in last fall’s elections, and we can do it again.
—Barbara Matteson

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