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NEA President: budget sets commonsense priorities for American families

Creating lasting economic opportunity starts in the nation’s classrooms

WASHINGTON - March 04, 2014 -

President Barack Obama today released his administration’s budget for fiscal year 2015. NEA President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement on behalf of the Association’s more than 3 million members.

“We welcome President Barack Obama’s budget priorities for students and their families. Educators know that the road to economic security and prosperity starts in America’s classrooms. President Obama’s budget rightly reflects our belief that a strong economy starts with a public education system that creates opportunity and excellence for all.

“We applaud the president for moving towards ending the era of austerity and recognizing the need to protect Social Security. Replacing the unnecessary automatic budget cuts, known as sequester, which caused significant and harmful damage to schools and working families, with smart investments in education , infrastructure, and research and development is necessary to move the country forward.

“Investing in early childhood education, expanding Head Start, making permanent a tax credit for college tuition and tax relief for college grants, and other middle-class tax reforms, will help students, transform the economy, and create opportunity for working- and middle-class families.

“We are encouraged by the president’s proposal to make higher education more affordable by making permanent a tax credit for college tuition and provide tax relief for those with federal grants or loans for college. His plan aligns with our view that anyone who is qualified and interested in post-secondary education should have the opportunity to pursue it, regardless of ability to pay.

“We also welcome the president’s plan to make high-quality early childhood education universally accessible to all 4-year olds. Research shows that children who attend high-quality prekindergarten programs are less likely to drop out of school, repeat grades, need special education, and have greater opportunity to succeed in life. Moreover, such programs bring enormous economic benefits and can pay for themselves in as little as one year and, over time, save the states and the federal government billions of dollars.

“Now is the time to start making smart, targeted investments in education and creating economic opportunities for more families. We appreciate the president’s laser-like focus on jobs, raising the minimum wage, and reforming our broken immigration system to improve the economy. We look forward to working with Congress and the president to help create an economy that works for all.”

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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.

MEDIA CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez, (202) 822-7823,