NEA Set to Launch Educator Led National Movement for Public Education
By Tim Walker
On July 2, the National Education Association will be launching a new campaign to help educators across the nation become the leaders in a national movement for public education. The campaign, called “Raise Your Hand,” will kick-off at the 2013 NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly with an event attended by more than one thousand educators and prominent leaders in education. Billed as a “day of innovation, inspiration and invitation,” dynamic and respected teachers and leaders in the education profession will come face-to-face to share creative ideas and concrete ideas about boosting student success and achievement.
The foundation of the Raise Your Hand campaign rests on the strong belief that educators – not politicians or self-proclaimed “reform” experts – know what works and they are the ones to lead and act for student success.
“Our members are coming together to help lift up our good ideas, our smart policies, and our successful programs and spread them to every corner of the country,” says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “We want to harness the passion of our members and empower teachers to lead, shape education policy, and prepare the next generation of teacher leaders.”
After the kick-off event next week, the talk stops and the work begins. Moving forward, NEA will be providing the necessary resources, expertise and leadership to ensure that Raise Your Hand is a nationwide, sustainable and successful initiative.
The campaign has four identified four simple yet ambitious goals: successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration and empowered school leaders.
For students and teachers across the nation, nothing lurks larger than the rapid implementation of the Common Core State Standards. As strong as they are, these standards will not succeed unless educators have been properly trained in how to integrate them into their classrooms. NEA will identify hundreds of leaders who are well versed in the standards to help teacher meet the 2014 implementation date. NEA will also hold multiple standards institutes so that more educators can receive the necessary professional development to implement the Common Core.
Too many teachers and education support professionals work in environments not conducive to professional growth. Empowering these professionals to systems of support is a key component of the Raise Your Hand campaign. NEA supports making sure all members of the school team—paraeducators, bus drivers, food services, building maintenance staff, security officers, clerical workers, skilled trades workers, and health and technology service workers, as well as teachers—have the preparation and education they need to effectively carry out the school’s mission and provide a safe and healthy environment for America’s public school students.
NEA will establish new peer assistance and review programs and new profession-ready residency models will become a part of educators’ preparation.
To help harness the collective expertise and experience of educators coast-to-coast, July 1, NEA is launching the Great Public Schools Network. This dynamic online tool for professional collaboration will be available to educators who will populate the network on key topics, including Common Core State Standards and educator leadership in public education.
Student success depends on strong teacher leadership. Working in partnership with its affiliates, NEA will drive a major initiative that supports and engages thousands of emerging teacher leaders and recruits, prepares, activates, and supports the next generation of teachers. In 2013, NEA will select at least 200 teachers to participate in a comprehensive leadership-training curriculum, including a field-based leadership practicum. This initiative will allow NEA to create a system of teacher leadership akin to what the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has done for the improvement of instruction. NEA has also developed the Elevating the ESP Careers (EEC) workgroup to develop respect for the careers of support professionals.
Ensuring success for every student ultimately depends on everyone taking responsibility, says Van Roekel.
“We can’t do it alone. We need more action and a stronger commitment from everyone. Our students can’t wait. School employees, parents, the community, and students themselves must all take direct action for student success.”