America's Dream Substitute Teacher? CNN's Anderson Cooper

By Celeste Busser

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, journalist, author and television personality, would also make a great substitute teacher. That’s the verdict rendered by those who voted in the National Education Association’s fourth annual Substitute Educator’s Day poll, conducted to draw attention to the role that substitute educators play in our nation’s schools.

Substitute teachers have traditionally been honored on the Friday of American Education Week, which is being celebrated November 14–20 this year.

Given the choice among CNN anchor Cooper, actor and reality show star Tony Danza, actress Jennifer Grey, TV personality Rachael Ray, recording artist Taylor Swift and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, 43 percent of the 700 respondents chose Cooper as the person they’d most like to see in the classroom as a substitute teacher.

As a follow-up to releasing the poll results, NEA will invite Cooper to spend the day as a substitute teacher in a public school.

“As a math teacher myself, I can tell you how critical it is to have well respected substitutes in our public schools,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “During American Education Week, we pay tribute to substitute educators who step in at a moment’s notice to carry out lesson plans and maintain a high level of learning.”

When asked why they chose Anderson Cooper as their ideal substitute teacher, one respondent wrote, “Anderson Cooper’s work ethic, charisma, passion, integrity, compassion, bravery, knowledge of many subject areas and integrity are the qualities I find most evident in my colleagues in our profession — education.  Thus, he would be the perfect substitute.”

Cooper has covered many stories that affect America’s young people, including the rise of bullying. Last month, Cooper held a town hall on Anderson Cooper 360° called Bullying: No Escape; an AC 360 Special Report with PEOPLE Magazine and Cartoon Network.

Respondents in NEA’s online substitute teacher poll included NEA members from across the country and the general public.

The poll is just one of the many activities taking place across the nation to celebrate the 89th annual American Education Week. NEA is encouraging everyone to get involved by participating in a local event, volunteering in afterschool programs, attending a school activity, or organizing events.

For more information about American Education Week, visit