NEA Advocacy: Your Values in Action

By Carrie Lewis and Felix Perez

From Capitol Hill, to state capitols, to the classroom, your voice matters!  Thanks to you and your support, students, teachers and education support staff made historic gains in 2009 and 2010.  You collectively sent more than 900,000 e-mails to the 111th Congress and made thousands of phone calls to and visits to your Members of Congress.

The results of your hard work are evident — because of your efforts, the 111th U.S. Congress:

  • Dramatically increased education funding — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act doubled pre-K to 12 spending, provided a $250 tax credit in GPO/WEP states, preserved jobs, and more.
  • Improved learning conditions — secured $4 billion to modernize public schools.
  • Kept more than 550,000 educators working and millions of students learning — the Recovery Act saved 400,000 jobs and the Education Jobs Fund an additional 150,000 to prevent ballooning class sizes, cuts in after-school programs, and shorter school weeks.
  • Helped make higher education affordable — invested an unprecedented $2 billion in community colleges, increased Pell Grants, streamlined student loans, and more.
  • Addressed the needs of the whole child — expanded the school lunch program, set new standards to improve the quality of school meals with more fruits and vegetables, and provided professional development for food service workers.
  • Expanded access to health care for children and adults — added 4 million poor children to current programs, created new programs for 32 million uninsured Americans, enabled children to stay on a parent’s policy until age 26, ended abuses such as lifetime coverage limits and dropping people when they get sick, and more.
  • Stopped multiple efforts to fund voucher programs in the District of Columbia and as part of the Department of Defense appropriation.
  • Fought for social justice — passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and won extended benefits for unemployed parents to ensure they can provide food, shelter, and clothing for their children.

Thank you for sharing your first-hand expertise with policymakers and making sure educators’ voices were reflected in these important debates.

The threats to public education will be great in the coming year, and we will continue to need your help to stand up for public schools, for educators, and for the students you serve.  Anti-public education forces at the federal and state level are threatening the rights of educators and seeking to silence organizations that fight for educators’ rights.

Stronger NEA voices and activism are the gifts that keep on giving.  Your association needs you now more than ever.  Sign up to volunteer as a public education activist by filling out the form in the top right-hand corner of this page.

We wish you a very happy holiday season and a safe and joyous new year.

— The National Education Association

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