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Member & Activist Spotlight

A relentless fighter and effective organizer

Grace Mayer is an Art Teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Grace Mayer
Published: September 1, 2023

Because I'm the youngest daughter, I saw my sisters struggle with having children and working a full-time job. As soon as my sisters, and a lot of my colleagues, had children, they were like, “I want to come back but I don't think I can.” And so, they decided to wait until their children were eight, ten, or twelve years old. And that's a huge loss to our profession.

As we started to talk about how we were going launch an early childhood daycare center for educators, the first obstacle was that nobody had done it before in this state.

There's this notion that people need to pay at a certain rate to put their child in a quality daycare center. I really pushed back.

The field of education is predominantly women, so we have to acknowledge what their life’s paths are. Child rearing is a big part of that.

You shouldn't pay half your salary to raise your children, especially when you're taking care of the community children—that should be free.

We're using the ESSER money (pandemic relief funds), but we're hoping our state will see the need to maintain this and help us fund it.

The mission of the childcare center is more than to alleviate expense for educators. It’s an environment that’s going help students discover and be curious about art … books … reading, and all the things we want young children to be exposed to.

If we don’t invest in raising children, then we're not really investing in a female workforce. We need more resources. We need a center like this where we can place our children and feel confident that when we come and pick them up, they've had a great day.

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.