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NEA President Lily Eskelsen García meets with Senator Bernie Sanders

Interview is a required part of NEA’s recommendation process for the 2016 presidential campaign

WASHINGTON - June 18, 2015 -

NEA president Lily Eskelsen García met with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) as part of the Association’s recommendation process for the 2016 presidential campaign. NEA, the largest union in the country with nearly 3 million members, launched in earnest its recommendation process earlier this year. Last week, President Eskelsen García met with Secretary Hillary Clinton. She also met today with former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. All viable presidential candidates from both political parties were invited to participate in NEA’s presidential recommendation process. Click on this link for picture of the meeting:

NEA president Lily Eskelsen García issued the following statement:
“Recommending a candidate for president of the United States is a civic responsibility that educators take seriously. We appreciate Sen. Sanders meeting with us as part of our presidential recommendation process. We know the stakes are high for educators, students, and their families, and going through the process to pick the right candidate that represents our values and sets the right priorities is critically important.

“We are asking the tough questions that get to the heart of the issues that educators, their students and families are facing every day. They see what is happening in their schools and communities. They know that all students deserve the support, tools, and time to learn. But are politicians willing to commit to the success of every student regardless of his or her zip code? That is the key question that educators will ask over and over again. Because when all students succeed, we not only create strong public schools, we are building a stronger America.”

Excerpts from Governor Senator Bernie Sanders:
“I am running president of the United States to start a political revolution. We have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in the country since 1929. The great middle class has been disappearing. The American dream is disappearing. We have priorities that are absolutely backwards. There are 45 million Americans living in poverty. A teacher at recent town hall meeting told me that 90 percent of her students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. This is not what America is about.

“Our country belongs to all of us, not just billionaires. No president can take care of all the problems facing Americans today alone. We need a movement of working people, of middle class people, to stand up right now. If we don’t, I worry about the future of our children and grandchildren.

“As I sit on the Senate education committee, it’s fair to say that there are few people on the committee who are as opposed to No Child Left Behind and as opposed to this absurd effort to force teachers to spend half of their lives teaching kids how to take tests. If I have anything to say in the coming months we would end NCLB.

“If elected president, we are going to look at the whole child. We are going to give teachers the opportunity and freedom to work with kids in any and all ways to improve their lives and to give them the best possible education. Teaching kids just to take test in my view does not go far enough.”

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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.

CONTACT:  Miguel A. Gonzalez