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A Time to Act

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel urges educators to lead the charge for education at this year’s Annual Meeting.


An energized and determined NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued a stirring call to action at NEA’s Representative Assembly on July 3, criticizing the failed policies and competitive grant programs being pumped by so-called education reformers and the Obama Administration’s education officials.


What would the profession look like if we—the union—actually controlled teacher training . . . induction and licensure . . . evaluation and professional development?  How do we ensure that all teachers are prepared to enter the profession and then are supported, especially in their first years?” asked Van Roekel. “Let’s create our moment! We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”

While rallying the delegates with his call-to-action, Van Roekel laid out specific steps educators can take to create change:

  • Support NEA’s Priority Schools Campaign—a national grassroots effort of educators who are helping students in low-performing schools stay in school and succeed.
  • Speak Up About ESEA Reauthorization—contact your members of Congress and tell them what you want to see in the new education law: adequate funding, an end to high-stakes testing, and policies that support student learning and growth.
  • Support the NEA Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching—the commission will offer recommendations on how teachers can exert greater authority over their profession and on the quality of public schools.

“If we are not the activists in politics, we will be the victims of politics,” Van Roekel warned the delegates. “ We simply cannot sit it out. There is too much at stake!”

For more coverage of this year’s Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly, go to

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