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Chester Upland educators ‘Walking the Walk’

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García says working with no pay shows commitment to students

WASHINGTON - August 27, 2015 -

Public school educators in Chester, Pa. voted Thursday to work temporarily without pay, so Chester Upland School District’s financially strapped schools could open for students as scheduled next week. This is the second time in less than five years that educators in the Pennsylvania school district have been forced to work despite the promise of no pay. National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García praised Chester Upland teachers and education support professionals for their commitment to students and the community.  NEA issued the following statement from President Eskelsen García:

“The decision by our colleagues in Chester, Pa. to work without pay shows they’re willing to go beyond talking about support for students; they’re actually willing to walk the walk. It’s time now for Keystone State lawmakers to put words into action and support students by making sure their schools have the funding, tools and resources necessary to prepare them to succeed in life.

“Chester Upland students need the adults in their lives to find viable solutions to the financial issues that threaten their ability to receive a good education. It’s impossible to ignore the fact that this same school district was in similar distress less than five years ago. The school district faces tough, but not insurmountable problems.  Lawmakers, parents, community leaders, educators—we’re all responsible—we must do whatever is necessary to fix the things that stand in the way of students’ opportunities to learn and grow.

“Right on schedule next week, buses will pick up students in the Chester Upland school district, school doors will open, and classrooms will welcome students full of excitement, largely because educators are willing to go the extra mile, give a little more, even with a personal sacrifice to themselves and their families. Chester Upland educators are walking the walk and the more than three million NEA members across the nation stand shoulder to shoulder with them.  They’re teaching their students a very valuable lesson: they are a priority.  It’s time their elected leaders did the same.

“Now, it’s up to Pennsylvania lawmakers to do their part and find solutions to the education funding challenges. A new school year begins and we wish for all our students and educators the freedom to focus on the fun and excitement of learning.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Celeste Busser, 202-262-0589,, Richard Allen Smith, 202-716-6461 cell,


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