By Emily Bricker / Photo: NEA President Lily Eskelsen García (far right end of banner) marches with Oregon educators.
Sixth-grade teacher and NEA President Lily Eskelsen García is not shy about acknowledging the political power educators hold.
That power has been on full display in cities and states across the country as part of the #RedForEd movement, said García during an open national call to NEA members on Thursday.
“Because of your activism, we have changed the public discourse about public education,” Garcia said. “The public is listening to us, and those candidates who want to take Donald Trump’s place want to know what we think is important because they know the public respects that.”
Her most urgent message to the members on the call, however, was that although November 2020 might sound like the distant future, candidates are defining their education policy right now, and will soon debate the issues.
That’s why NEA has already launched its Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign.
Now is the time for educators to get involved and ensure that their voices are heard—by their union, by the presidential candidates, and within their own communities.
“Our goal for the Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign is to listen to you,” García said. “You may not know this, but you have the most powerful voice in the universe, and what we want to do is amplify it.”
It’s not an exaggeration to say that NEA members hold immense collective power in activism and elections. One out of every 100 Americans is an NEA member, and one out of every 39 voters is an NEA member.
No one is more aware than educators that the future of public schools is on the line in the upcoming election.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s longest serving cabinet member, has worked to subvert public education throughout her tenure. She has promoted the privatization of public schools through vouchers, called for deep cuts to federal education funding, and rolled back protections for vulnerable students.
Educators across the country believe that public school students deserve to have an advocate in the Oval Office who will appoint an experienced, qualified Secretary of Education. And now educators and others who care about public schools can do something about it.
NEA’s Strong Public Schools 2020 campaign aims to provide educators with the tools they need to get informed and engaged. The StrongPublicSchools.org website hosts a suite of resources and tools open to everyone who wants to support candidates who will support public schools. Visitors to StrongPublicSchools.org can:
- Find information about the 2020 candidate and compare their positions on important issues;
- Ask the Next President a question by submitting something in writing or via video for the candidates on the web site so they hear what is important to you;
- Find events hosted by presidential candidates and the NEA;
- Learn about every step of NEA’s candidate recommendation process.
NEA members can also submit artwork to a poster contest. The winning poster will be used at campaign events across the country.
The site will be continuously updated throughout Election 2020 as candidates talk about public education.
Visit StrongPublicSchools.org to join the fight for opportunity for all students.