NEA VP Joins Jessica Alba in Call for Universal Education

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By Ankita Rao

An inspiring mix of Hollywood stars, athletes and Congressional leaders joined NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a Global Action Week event, organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).

Supporting a theme of Financing Quality Public Education: A Right For All, Esklelsen, actress Jessica Alba, and Rep. Nita Lowey (D- NY) spoke out for the 72 million children around the world who lack basic primary education.

The GCE brings together NGOs and teachers unions in more than 100 countries to promote access to education as a basic right, and to promote public pressure on the international community to fulfill their promises for all children.

“NEA’s 3.2 million members are proud to be a part of the Global Campaign for Education and help teach an important lesson, The World’s Largest Lesson, about economics, democracy and human rights,” Eskelsen said.

This year, the Global Campaign for Education teamed up with FIFA and the 2010 World Cup tournament to kick off 1GOAL, an initiative that involves popular athletes and celebrities to promote education.

The World Cup will also set the stage for the Global Summit on Education. Earlier this week, NEA president Dennis Van Roekel and the Most Rev. Bishop Desmond Tutu called on President Obama and world leaders to attend the summit and focus on their commitment to universal education.

Lesson plans for 1GOAL have been developed with the help of the NEA, a member of the U.S. Chapter of the Global Campaign for Education Leadership Council.

To further the mission of 1GOAL, NEA is offering an online tool kit with classroom resources that can increase awareness about the lack of universal education and help develop an understanding of the commitment made by world leaders.

Wednesday’s event also unveiled new information about the Education for All Act, authored by Representative Lowey, that will urge lawmakers on Capitol Hill to reach the goal of universal education by 2015.

“Investment in education pays returns in health, economic growth, environmental stewardship, democratic participation – and, it’s a human right,” Eskelsen said.