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NEA President Goes Back to School

NEA’s back-to-school activities to highlight “Raise Your Hand for Public Education” initiative

WASHINGTON - September 09, 2013 -

As students and educators head back to school, the National Education Association has a full backpack of activities to raise awareness of new initiatives and practices, to provide resources about the Common Core State Standards for parents and teachers and to fight the unfortunate, ever-present attacks on public education, schools and students.

NEA’s “Raise Your Hand for Public Education” is a national initiative that aims to supercharge the drive for public education and student success. The foundation of the effort rests on the strong belief that educators – not politicians or self-proclaimed “reform” experts – know what works and they are the ones to lead and act for student success. The initiative has identified four simple yet ambitious goals: successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration and empowered school leaders.

“Our members are coming together to help lift up our good ideas, smart policies, and successful programs and spread them to every corner of the country,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We want to harness the passion of our members and empower educators, parents, and community leaders who share our commitment to fulfilling the promise of public education and prepare every student to succeed.”

NEA’s Van Roekel is also hitting the road to visit students and educators as they head back to school. He will join local and state education leaders across the country in highlighting public school innovation, partnerships and educator- and union-led school transformation efforts.

President Van Roekel will draw attention to the many challenges educators and students are facing as they return back to school, including ongoing cuts to education funding, implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) without the guarantee of the time or tools to get it right, the fight to get or hold onto pre-K and full-day kindergarten and efforts by politicians to strip collective bargaining from workers.  The tour will stop in Portland, Ore.; Salem, Ore.; Chicago, Ill.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Boston, Mass.

“This fall’s landscape is radically different. Students and teachers face unprecedented challenges from larger classes to shrinking programs to implementing the new standards without sufficient professional development or updated textbooks. But what hasn’t changed is educators’ steadfast commitment to students,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We must work together to help more students, more ways, more effectively. We all—teachers, education support professionals, students, parents, elected officials and community leaders—are accountable for our children’s success.”

NEA was fully engaged in the development of CCSS and has partnered with affiliates to ensure educators’ voices and expertise are leading the effort to develop relevant and engaging instructional materials and help develop the strongest next-generation assessments possible. The Association will release the results of a member-wide poll on CCSS this Thursday, September 12th.

The effective implementation of the Common Core State Standards will help ensure that each student is prepared for the future – career or college. They are a game changer for the tens of millions of students in public schools. Governors from both parties in 45 states came together and agreed that students should be able to think critically, solve problems, compete and excel globally. As strong as they are, these standards will not succeed unless school districts provide the support educators need to be properly trained in how to integrate them into their classrooms and parents truly understand their intent.

“It’s now up to parents, educators, elected leaders and others in communities across the nation to make sure states get Common Core right for their students. Regardless of where students live, how much money their parents make—all of our students deserve a fair shot at a promising future—providing this kind of equity in education is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss,” said Van Roekel, a longtime math teacher from Arizona.

For more resources and a comprehensive set of back-to-school educator-tested tips, advice, and resources for educators and parents, visit:  The site includes:

For tour highlights and photos visit

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.


CONTACT: Celeste Busser, (202) 822-7823,


NEA 2013 Back to School Tour

NEA 2013 Back to School Resources