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NEA News

24 Resolutions for 2024!

As the new year kicks off, here are two dozen ways to strengthen our union, take care of each other, and improve student learning.
2024 resolutions
Published: January 5, 2024

1. Celebrate the good stuff.

In 2023, educators achieved great things! For example, in Andover, Mass., instructional aides won 34 percent pay hikes! In Portland, Ore., Portland Association of Teachers members won an additional 90 minutes a week in planning time! Woohoo! And, across the nation, thanks to NEA members' advocacy, the USDA has expanded free breakfast and lunch programs to 3,000 more high-needs districts. (We even stopped vouchers in Texas!) This year, when something good happens—whether it’s an a-ha moment in the classroom or a massive win at the bargaining table—take note and make time to celebrate.

bus driver

2. Get your student debt in order.

In 2023, the Biden administration introduced a new repayment plan called “Saving on a Valuable Education,” or SAVE. By the end of the year, more than 5.5 million people had enrolled—including 2.9 million who now have $0 payments. Joshua Hetzel, a math teacher at Ronald Reagan High School in Milwaukee, Wisc., is among them. “I went from owing about $500 a month—for me and my wife—to $0,” he reports. Visit to learn more.

3. Focus on relationships.

Time spent on getting to know your students through conversation or collaborative projects isn't time wasted. When you focus first on relationships, learning will follow. Some educators call this “love first, teach second” — and many educators have resolved to embrace this approach in 2024, they told us on NEA Today Facebook.

4. Check in on your colleagues.

With educator shortages on the rise, not to mention mental health issues, physical attacks on educators, book bans, and a million other problems, we all need help. One of the best things about being in a union is being in union with educators. Knock on your colleagues’ doors. Go outside your department, even!

two teachers talking

5. Become an EdActivist.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the 2024 election is the most important of our lifetimes. Public education is under attack like never before. How are you going to make a difference? NEA’s EdActivist digital organizing program will help you connect with voters in your community. Check it out.

6. Check your voter registration.

Time flies—and November’s big Election Day will be here before you know it. Make sure you can exercise your right to vote (for candidates who believe in public education!) Confirm your registration in just seconds with this NEA Education Votes tool.

7. Get more involved with your union.

A few weeks ago, when we asked NEA members how their unions helped them in 2023, we got hundreds of answers: “By giving me a voice!” was one. Others noted how their unions negotiated for pay raises, more planning time, caseload caps, lower class sizes, and better health care plans. Through our unions, NEA members also helped elect pro-public education candidates who have pushed through paid leave for educators, free meals for kids, and more. All of this happens when educators show up and raise their voices together. The first thing you can do? Go to your local union meeting.

educators table to register voters
Charles A. Smith Photography

8. Let all your students know they’re welcome.

With rising antisemitism and Islamophobia in schools and on campuses, not to mention persistent racism and anti-LGBTQ hate, it’s more important than ever to let ALL students know they’re welcome. Check out these downloadable posters from NEA’s EdJustice to send a visual message.

9. Leave work on time.

Work-life balance is key to mental health. Says one Pennsylvania teacher: “I’m a third-year teacher and I have a bunch of friends that are also third- and fourth-year teachers. We started a group chat called ‘accountability buddies’ and we’ve been sending selfies to one another when we [leave school] … We started it at the beginning of December and I think we’ve all been a little happier.”

10. Establish clear boundaries.

The goal isn’t just to go home on time—it’s to leave work behind. Set clear expectations with parents about communication. Let them know that when you leave work at X:00 p.m., you will be turning your attention to your own family and responding to their afternoon/evening emails the following day.    

11. Read a banned book.

Most banned books include LGBTQ+ characters or themes. Often, they serve as mirrors for those students—to show them that they’re not alone—or as windows into the worlds they inhabit. Text BANNED to 48744 to get a book recommendation from NEA. 

Banned Books

12. Sign the NEA Freedom to Learn pledge.

Through the pledge, educators are demanding that every student be provided an inclusive curriculum that covers our nation’s whole history and enables students to see themselves in curricula. We also are demanding that every student have the right to a public education free of discrimination, harassment and bullying, and that educators be respected and protected.

13. Stop the insanity: Ask Congress to take action on gun safety.

On 2024's first day of school, in Perry, Iowa, a 17-year-old student brought a gun to school, killed an 11-year-old sixth grader and additionally wounded seven other students and staff members, before killing himself. "The pain in your heart, it's overwhelming," a Perry parent told news reporters. Tell your representatives to take action on commonsense gun laws.

14. Use people’s pronouns.

It’s a simple thing you can do to make a colleague or student feel seen and to create a safe space for everybody. (And don’t call them “preferred pronouns.” Saying preferred makes it seem like it’s negotiable.) For more information, check out NEA’s Pronoun Guide.

15. Make your own coffee.

Educators’ caffeine habits are legendary—and that drive-thru Starbucks is so convenient… Save your cash—and show solidarity with Starbucks workers who are fighting for fair treatment. 

16. Go to the bathroom when you need to go to the bathroom.

Every U.S. worker has federally guaranteed rights to bathroom access. If your rights are being denied, talk to your local union reps. Not using the toilet can lead to serious health issues. 

17. Let people know that you’re a union member!

Every union member has the federally protected right, under the National Labor Relations Act, to wear their union insignia—whether it’s on a t-shirt, lanyard, or whatever. Show your #unionpower! Let your colleagues know that you believe in the power of solidarity!

megaphone blackboard

18. Learn something new.

When we asked educators about their 2024 resolutions, we heard from a Georgia high school teacher who is joining a literature study group and a Massachusetts teacher learning Portuguese to better connect with her students’ families. Educators can—and should—be learners, too!

19. Stay on top of the news that affects you!

Find more education news and features, NEA member voices, and digital versions of NEA Today magazine.

20. Make the best of social media.

Take a look at our reels on NEA Today on Threads!

21. Check out NEA Micro-Credentials.

These are short, online professional development courses—created by educators for educators. One of the newest? “Adult Social Emotional Learning (SEL),” which will help you strengthen your relationship skills. 

22. Keep a journal.

Take a tip from the 2023 National Teacher of the Year, Rebecka Peterson of Oklahoma, who has posted more than 1,400 daily reflections on her blog, “One Good Thing.” “When I took time to notice the good, the good became better,” she said.   

23. Make 2024 the year that GPO-WEP is finally repealed.

What is GPO-WEP? It’s actually two things—the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision—that reduce or eliminate Social Security benefits for 2.5 million Americans, many of them educators. To date, GPO-WEP has cost Missouri retired teacher Martha Karlovetz at least $111,384—and she’s not the only one! The Social Security Act would fix this: Urge your representatives in Congress to pass it.  

24. Let’s say it again: Get involved in your union!

Together we have raised pay, improved our working conditions, fought for our students to get the support they need, and made sure educators’ voices are heard. If you’re not a member yet, join now.

Librarian leans over seated students at the library who are reading a book

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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.