Skip Navigation
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, provide ads, analyze site traffic, and personalize content. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.

The Campaign Lab

An Initiative of the Campaign to Promote, Protect, and Strengthen Public Education
Published: May 1, 2024

In 2023, the National Education Association and its allies launched the Promote, Protect, and Strengthen Public Education campaign (the Campaign). Among its initiatives is The Campaign Lab (the Lab), which aims to help local communities and their partners address various issues of equity and racial justice in education through well-planned campaigns. These issues could be related to schools or broader community concerns, such as class size reduction, affordable housing or increasing the minimum wage.

Over the next two years, we aim to support 500 or more campaigns, approximately 10 per state. The Lab is being executed in collaboration with the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS), a national education justice coalition. All AROS organizations are recruiting local campaigns to participate.

The Lab will:

  1. Assist participants in transforming their issues into effective campaigns.
  2. Offer a comprehensive four-part training program facilitated by the AROS.
  3. Provide ongoing coaching and support for participants.
  4. Foster connections between local groups and partners working on similar issues, such as school closures and affordable housing.
  5. Deliver advanced training in key areas like communications, organizing, policy development, and other essential skills required for successful local campaigns.
  6. Host monthly meetings via Zoom for mutual support and learning among locals unions/coalitions.
  7. Facilitate collaboration, mutual learning and possible collective action across local coalitions.

The Lab’s training and strategic support will help participants to:

  1. Develop a common framework for organizing.
  2. Strengthen their organizing skills, including running strategic campaigns, recruiting and retaining members, and developing grassroots leaders.
  3. Expand their understanding of how to build coalitions that have the capacity to generate greater power to win educational justice reforms and build their member organizations’ investment.
  4. Deepen their understanding of the larger political context in which organizing takes place.
  5. Build their sense of community and solidarity with organizations and leaders working in their own state, on their same issue, and/or across the country.

How to apply:

Local Affiliates of NEA are eligible to apply below. There is no deadline for submitting applications.

Successful applicants will:

  1. Have a significant issue they wish to address through a campaign or by joining an existing one. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    1. Advocating for universal school meals.
    2. Advocating for a Community School policy.
    3. Advocating for a professional excellence policy.
    4. Opposing school closures.
    5. Resisting Right-Wing assaults, such as book banning.
    6. Supporting or initiating efforts to raise the minimum wage.
    7. Organizing a Bargaining for the Common Good campaign on affordable housing.
    8. Advocating for an ESP Bill of Rights and year-round employment opportunities.
    9. Pushing for increased revenue at the district and state level.
    10. Opposing private school vouchers and other forms of privatization.
  2. Make sure their state affiliate is aware of their application.
  3. Possess a dedicated and diverse team passionate about the issue or commit to forming this team.
  4. Agree to collaborate with a coach to devise a strategic campaign plan and to receive ongoing coaching for the duration of the local’s involvement with the Lab.

Participant expectations:

  1. Put together a team. Teams of school and community activists from member locals are eligible to participate. Teams may include union members, affiliate staff, students, parents, and community members. A local affiliate may have a team of no more than ten. We encourage careful, intentional consideration of the make-up of teams, and attention should be given to establishing a team that reflects diversity in ethnicity, gender, age, organizations, and roles and responsibilities.
  2. Attend the campaign training. The campaign training is for union locals and/or community leaders to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to build powerful community-union campaigns that transform our schools and communities. Over the course of the year, each participating union local and/or community designs and implements a campaign that is focused on winning specific changes in policy and practice that help to create the public schools all our students deserve.
  3. Attend the monthly coaching and support sessions.
  4. Create and run a campaign.

Launch schedule:

The Lab will be accepting applications on a rolling basis (i.e. as applications come in).


There is no cost for applicants that are accepted to the Lab. The Lab may decide to convene participants in person, which may require participants to pay for a portion of their travel, lodging, and food.

Additional questions?

View the FAQ  for answers to common questions.

Click Here to apply to the Campaign Lab

Click Here to Return to a saved Campaign Lab application

Are you an affiliate?

Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
Colorado educator in red shirt speaking

Advocacy Grants for NEA Affiliates

Looking to implement student-centered initiatives through collective bargaining or other forms of advocacy?
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.