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NEA Today June 2019

Many claimed the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME would devastate labor. Instead, the union is growing. Plus, our favorite rally signs from the past year, the #RedforEd movement, and the benefits of union membership for substitute educators.
Published: June 11, 2019

COVER: Still Strong

Lauren Brill is president of Virginia’s Fauquier Education Association (FEA). She expected to lose members in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down last summer. Many claimed the ruling would devastate labor. Instead, FEA is growing. The affiliate is part of a 14,000-member increase experienced by NEA since last year.

Rally Signs to Make You Think and Smile
#RedForEd isn’t a moment. It’s an entire movement that continues to make a difference for students across the U.S. Inside, check out some of the smart and creative signs carried by pro-public education activists who’ve shown up at #RedForEd rallies, walk outs, protests, job actions, and strikes.

There is No Substitute for a Good Union Contract
From Maryland to Maine to Washington state, substitute educators who belong to wall- to-wall unions say they have a voice that leads to more professional pay, some access to health and retirement benefits, and professional development opportunities that make them better teachers.

Issues and Impact

Your Year in Activism
Education activism is at a historic level, thanks to NEA members who are powering #RedForEd, helping pro-public education candidates win, and making Washington listen and act.

People and Places

2019 ESP of the Year Matthew Powell Does It All
Meet 2019 ESP of the Year Matthew Powell who says his tenure will be about shining the spotlight on critical issues faced by ESPs.

Teaching and Learning

Use Curiosity to Help Drive a Lesson
When you encourage student questions, and give them the freedom to zigzag toward the answers, engagement builds along the way.


A Note from the Editor-in-Chief

Educators are the Storm
As another school year comes to a close, the solidarity and activism of educators has shown the nation that you are more determined than ever to stand together and create better outcomes for students.

Lily's Blackboard

I Am Worker, Hear Me Roar!
Since 2018, more than 485,000 workers have hit the streets across the nation. That’s the highest number in more than 30 years, and we’re just getting started.

Talk Back

Why We Stay

Michelle Usher was 100 percent correct when she stated “I really care about you.” (students). (“Why We Stay,”April NEA Today) Erika Navarro-Dix also mentioned that “I’ve always enjoyed being around kids.” These two statements are the main reasons why I am still teaching in the public schools after 57 years. My first seven years were in the Philippines and the next 50 years have been in Los Angeles Unified School District. May they last longer than I do as public school teachers! God Bless!


Having a strong mentor helped me stay in the profession and I’ve been hanging in there for 28 years. Knowing someone has your back and can talk you off the ledge is something all teachers need, especially in mid-career. I would recommend an active mentoring program that follows teachers through their career.


We Need Community Schools I agree but we need to empower families and social organizations to wrap their own arms. (“Like Arms Wrapped Around a Family,” April NEA Today) Framing this as another duty of public schools is contributing to burnout.


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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.