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National Council of Urban Education Associations

The National Council of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) is an advocacy organization of local affiliates of the National Education Association (NEA), which is dedicated to strengthening member advocacy and making the NEA more responsive to member needs.

The mission of NCUEA is to promote and advance quality public education in urban schools by empowering and supporting local associations, leaders, and members. In carrying out this mission, NCUEA focuses on the following areas:


  • United voice for urban education
  • Promotion of and advocacy for local associations
  • Partnership with NEA
  • Partnerships with education-focused organizations
  • Training for local urban leaders
  • Human and civil rights for all
  • Celebration of diversity
  • Communication among local associations
  • Staff/Leadership relationships
  • Quality working conditions


NCUEA's 2020 Virtual Fall Conference: Forging a Stronger Civil Society Through Unionism

NCUEA conference flyer

Join us at NCUEA’s 2020 virtual fall conference, Thursday, December 3, 2020 to Saturday, December 5, 2020.

COVID-19 has transformed how we organize, advocate, and, of course, educate. This year, we have witnessed educators step up and demand safer teaching, working, and learning environments for their students and for themselves. We have also witnessed the ascendancy of a powerful racial justice movement, challenging us to take concrete actions to realize a more just and equitable United States. This fall, we will continue this dialogue on what it means to have strong civil society, and how we can achieve this through our union.

NCUEA's 2020 virtual fall conference will feature keynote speakers that address the intersections between racial justice, civil society, and unionism. We may not be able to see each other in person, but we know that virtual connections and collaborations can still be fostered through NCUEA.

Join us in this conversation as we tackle the big issues facing our country and our communities!

We are also proud to announce NCUEA's fall conference keynote speakers!

Matthew Desmond, a MacArthur “Genius” and Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond is also the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and the principal investigator at Princeton's Eviction Lab. Below is select praise for Evicted:

  • "This modern classic has set a new standard for reporting on poverty” - Barbara Ehrenreich, The New York Times Book Review
  • “Evicted stands among the very best of the social justice books.” - Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
  • “My God, what [Evicted] lays bare about American poverty. It is devastating and infuriating and a necessary read.” - Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Difficult Women

Mitchell Jackson is an award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family.

Jackson’s work explores his hometown of Portland, OR, including the systemic forces that shaped his community, his family, and his early life. Below is select praise for Jackson's work:

  • A model of autobiographical writing that demonstrates how reportage and critical attention to the complexities of black life – in its intersectional textures – can be the source for an inimitable memoir…" - The New York Times Book Review
  • “A shattering memoir of [Jackson's] mother's love affair with drugs and his own struggle to reconcile the forces of racism, toxic masculinity, the lure of the hustle, and the 'composite Pops' who helped raise him."— O, the Oprah Magazine


To register, click here!


NCUEA has always prioritized creating physical spaces for union leaders and members to collaborate, to share best practices, and learnings with one another – and from experts from outside the NEA ecosystem. Our previous conferences have featured speakers from gun control advocates like Brady, to policy wonks from the Economic Policy Institute, and authors like Nancy MacLean and Kiese Laymon. 

NCUEA, like all our members, has replaced the physical spaces we’ve traditionally valued, with the digital space. And we are filling up that space with our virtual NCUEA Seminar Series. Join us as we continue this virtual series and move from summer into fall.

Past Speakers

David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
Author and Professor of English at the University of Southern California (USC) 

Civic Academies: Parts I and II
Shanize Byrd and Paul Rohlfing
Organizational Specialists, NEA Center for Organizing

American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Exposed
A Conversation with Lisa Graves, Co-Director of Documented & Former Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy and Nancy MacLean, Author of Democracy in Chains and Duke University Professor.

COVID Funding Federal Advocacy & Policy
Discussion with NEA's Government Relations and Education Policy & Practice departments on NEA's federal lobbying efforts to secure federal funding.

Education Support Professionals: Confronting COVID-19
Discussion with NEA's ESP Quality Department and the Center for Organizing on what COVID-19 means for education support professionals.


Group of educators attend Local President Training

The National Education Association’s (NEA) Local Presidents Training equips incoming local presidents with a set of fundamental skills aligned with NEA’s Leadership Competencies, including organizing, advocacy, communication, governance, and strategy & fiscal health. These fundamental skills provide local leaders with the tools to address both internal local issues, such as membership growth and representative structures, as well as to tackle pressing issues in their school districts and communities, such as student success, as well as social, racial, and economic justice. Find more information on NEA’s Leadership Competencies here.

NEA’s Center for Organizing and the National Council of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) partner to conduct the national Local Presidents Training. NCUEA is an autonomous political body within NEA that represents and advocates for urban education associations and the students that they serve. Click here for more information on NCUEA, its work, and on how you can join and become a NCUEA member.

This training is led by current or former local presidents – all of whom have successfully completed NEA’s Local Presidents Training. Most, but not all trainers, are from NCUEA member locals. NEA’s Center for Organizing provides all other staffing, resources, and support for this program. Click here for a complete list of the LPT/NEA Training Cadre and their bios.


The Center for Organizing currently facilitates four (4) Local Presidents Training sessions per year. The program typically accepts 20-25 applicants per session. We have found that this is the optimal number to ensure robust participant discussion and enable understanding of training content.

The training lasts for 2-3 days, and is traditionally held at NEA’s Washington, D.C. headquarters. Trainings will be held on the following dates:

  1. EVENT FULL - October 22, 2020 at 7:00-8:30 pm EDT Connecting with Members Virtually and Beyond Learn about how to organize and advocate on issues educators and students care about in a virtual environment – and in a changed world where inequity has been laid bare due to COVID-19.
  2. November 10, 2020 at 7:00-8:30 pm EST Being an Inclusive Organization What does it take to be an inclusive organization? Leaders in this session share how they work to build diverse and inclusive leadership pipelines and ensure all voices are Incorporated in decision making.

Costs. The Center for Organizing pays for accepted applicants to attend the national Local Presidents Training program, including covering travel and hotel accommodations. NEA also reimburses participants for meal costs.

Trainers. All local president training trainers are alums of the program itself. Most are still local presidents, but we also maintain a roster of talented cadre trainers who may no longer be local presidents. All trainers, regardless of elected position, are members of their state affiliate and the National Education Association.

Interested in learning more? Check out the sample training agenda below.


NCUEA member locals are given advance notification to apply and register for the Local Presidents Training. NCUEA’s president sends the email invitation directly to leadership at NCUEA’s member locals. Members of the Urban Directors Association are also notified at this time.

State presidents and state executive directors are also notified and invite to share the invitation with locals in their respective affiliates.


Due to the national Local Presidents Training program’s popularity and the limited number of slots available per year, we have received requests for the local presidents training team to facilitate in-state trainings. These are requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, as we try to our best to accommodate our state and local affiliate needs.

Please submit in-state training requests to Michael Schoettle, NEA Field Manager, at and Latoya Johnson, NEA Organizational Specialist, at


Selection of painted parachutes

The parachute lending library at the NEA National Office in Washington D.C. is a new resource that lends banners to your local teachers’ union for upcoming marches, actions, or other activities planned by your local. The NEA has teamed up with national artists from the Art Build Workers to paint numerous different 24’ wide nylon parachute banners.

These parachutes are the "play parachutes" that one might recall from elementary school days. The blank versions of the play parachute are the perfect material for painting powerful graphics and slogans onto. They are light and have handles for upwards of twenty people to hold the image upwards towards the sky.

These banners are key visual elements for marches and actions. They are routinely photographed by the media allowing the messages of the movement to be easily communicated. Due to their large scale these circular banners are easily read by news helicopters when they are photographing the size of the march or by photojournalists situated on buildings as a march goes through a downtown area. The parachute banners also communicate to those in the march: they bring joy and celebration to the march when the parachutes are lifted upwards and people – especially kids – run under the parachutes. 

The Parachute Lending Library is easy to use. Email Phillip Zanders and explain which parachute design you would like to feature in your action and the date needed for the parachute banner to arrive by mail. The parachute – if not already out on loan - will be mailed to your local. After the march or action, your local would be responsible to mail the parachute back to the NEA national office in D.C.

See examples of the parachute banners in action by UTLA in a Los Angeles march here!

Educator working with a group of students.

Take your local to the next level

The best way you can support your local and advocate for students and educators across your district is to get involved with the National Council of Urban Education Associations.
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.