NEA President Hits the Road for 2013 Back to School Tour
By Celeste Busser
As students and teachers head back to school, the National Education Association will join them on its annual “Back to School Tour.” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel will crisscross the country September 9 to 13 to raise awareness about the organization’s bold new initiative to further strengthen public education through the power of its members. The tour will stop in Portland, Ore.; Salem, Ore.; Chicago, Ill.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Boston, Mass.
NEA’s “Raise Your Hand for Public Education” is a national initiative that aims to supercharge the drive for public education and student success. The foundation of the campaign rests on the strong belief that educators – not politicians or self-proclaimed “reform” experts – know what works. Educators have the best experience and expertise to lead and act for student success. The campaign has identified four simple yet ambitious goals: successful students, accomplished professionals, dynamic collaboration and empowered school leaders.
Van Roekel will also draw attention to the many challenges educators and students are facing as they return to school, including ongoing cuts to education funding, implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the fight for pre-K and full-day kindergarten and efforts by politicians to strip collective bargaining from workers.
“This fall’s landscape is radically different. Students and teachers face unprecedented challenges from larger classes to shrinking programs to implementing the new standards. But what hasn’t changed is educators’ steadfast commitment to students,” said Van Roekel. “We must work together help more students, more ways, more effectively. We all—teachers, education support professionals, students, parents, elected officials and community leaders—are accountable for our children’s success.”
A hot topic during the back-to-school tour will be the Common Core State Standards. NEA was fully engaged in the development of CCSS and has partnered with its affiliates to ensure educators’ voices are heard and their expertise is used to develop relevant and engaging instructional materials as well as the best assessments possible. As strong as the new standards are, they won’t be effective unless educators have been properly trained in how to integrate them into their classrooms and parents truly understand their intent.
“It’s now up to parents, educators, elected leaders and others in communities across the nation to make sure states get Common Core right for their students. Regardless of where students live, how much money their parents make—all of our students deserve a fair shot at a promising future—providing this kind of equity in education is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss,” said Van Roekel.
NEA has developed a comprehensive set of back-to-school educator-tested tips, advice, and resources for educators and parents at www.nea.org/backtoschool. The site includes:
- Educator-tested tips, advice and resources for back to school
- 5 things to consider when purchasing a backpack for students
- Preparing for and conducting parent-teacher conferences
- Common Core Toolkit
- Back-to-School activity guide