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Member & Activist Spotlight

David DeLeon: A Lot Less Fear

David DeLeon is a middle school educator from Austin, Texas
Published: September 2021

When I attended the University of Texas at Austin for college, though, I participated in a program where I tutored at-risk students to help them pass their classes. This experience helped me discover a passion for education.

I was the first member of my family to graduate from college. Growing up, the schools I attended were very underserved.

I’m very upset with the state of the world when it comes to how underrepresented youth are treated and continue to be treated. I want to continue working in these communities to help offset some of these ingrained societal problems. Travis County has the most segregated schools in the entire state of Texas. I’m constantly having conversations with district leaders about how we can make the schools more equitable. If we address this problem, then we would be able to address many of the issues that educators here face daily.

I’ve been very active in meeting with our administrators. Four years ago, we had an issue on campus where several teachers brought to the district’s attention mold issues in their school. One teacher had to quit because of health issues related to that. Situations like that make it hard for me to stay quiet.

It wasn’t until we had the teachers come to a school board meeting and lay out the issues that our district finally brought in a third-party inspector to test the entire campus. They produced an easily readable report that showed that some sections of the school were so bad that they required renovations and repairs to the air ducts to address the mold.

Education Austin and our local union leaders have been great. When we had the mold issues, they came and sat in on meetings that we held and provided advice on what we could do. It’s a comfort to be a part of a union when it comes to speaking up about any problems. People are always afraid of retaliation if they raise concerns, but you have a lot less fear with the union behind you because they will step in and have your back.

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.