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Vice President Biden “stands with NEA” to restore the American dream

Our students need leaders like Biden, says NEA President Van Roekel

CHICAGO - July 03, 2011 -

Speaking to more than 9,000 educators during the National Education Association’s 90th Representative Assembly (RA) in Chicago on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden told delegates that the current national debate is about a fundamental difference in vision for America.

“The debate is about whether or not for America to succeed we need to provide the best education for all our children—or for just some of our children,” said Vice President Biden.  “It is about social equality, economic opportunity and concentration of wealth.”

The other team has a different vision for public education, said the Vice President.

“These are not bad guys, they just have a different point of view,” said the Vice President.  “It should be no surprise that the same people pushing vouchers for education push vouchers for healthcare.” 

Mr. Biden was introduced by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. The crowd greeted the Vice President with cheers and a standing ovation, and applauded loudly when the Vice President talked about budget cuts in the states that are hurting working families.

“There is an organized effort to place the blame for budget shortfalls squarely on educators and other public workers,” said Vice President Biden.  “It is one of the biggest scams in modern American history.”

The Vice President recognized that the voice of teachers is essential to improving education.  He encouraged educators to work closely with lawmakers and others who genuinely want to improve public education so that all students in America have access to quality public schools. 

Van Roekel agreed, saying students do best when all the adults in their lives take responsibility for their success and work together to find solutions.

“This is something the Vice President knows first-hand, and we’re proud that he addressed our delegates who represent hard working and committed dedicated educators.  Our students need leaders like him,” said Van Roekel. 

The RA is the top decision-making body for NEA. RA delegates adopt NEA’s strategic plan and budget, resolutions, the legislative program, and other Association policies. The NEA Representative Assembly is the world's largest democratic deliberative body, with voting delegates from state and local affiliates across the country.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson  (202) 822-7823,

Vice President Joe Biden Audio