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NEA President urges President Obama to focus on economy and inequity

Letter to Obama outlines State of the Union policy priorities to help students and families

WASHINGTON - January 24, 2014 -

On behalf of its more than 3 million members, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel today sent a letter to President Barack Obama conveying the hopes and concerns of educators about his upcoming sixth State of the Union Address. The letter outlines the policy priorities that educators believe will transform the economy and help address education inequities.

Below are excerpts from the letter:

“We all know you took office in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The road back from that has been difficult, and while progress has been made much more remains to be done. One in five children lives in poverty. More than 2.3 million children live with a long-term unemployed parent – triple the number just five years ago. The average American household made less in 2012 than it did in 1989. For our nation’s educators, these “statistics” are all too often the students they strive to help each day…

“We can and must do better. We need an economy that works for everyone…A strong and fair economy that works for all starts with a strong and equitable education system that offers opportunity for all. Educators know that 60 years after the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, too many inequities still exist…

“On behalf of our nation’s students and educators, I urge you to help move our nation forward with priorities that would individually help address the scourge of child poverty and collectively transform the entire economy for future generations.”

The priorities on which educators urge the president to focus include:

  • Giving all children access to high-quality early education;
  • Making higher education more affordable;
  • Raising the federal minimum wage;
  • Fixing our broken immigration system; and
  • Closing corporate tax loopholes.

To read the letter in its entirety, please click here or visit:

Follow the conversation at @NEAMedia #SOTU

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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.

Miguel A. Gonzalez
(202) 822-7823