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NEA President reacts to new proposal from Education Secretary Duncan

Eskelsen García is ‘encouraged,’ stresses need for professional development

WASHINGTON - September 30, 2015 -

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García provided the following statement in reaction to Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s policy proposals delivered this afternoon at the National Press Club:

“Every student deserves the resources and supports needed for success. As adults, we must ensure that, regardless of their ZIP code, all our students are prepared to succeed in life. We are encouraged by this proposal from Secretary Duncan that opens the door for schools and communities to exercise creativity in building models for student success. His framework for disinvestment in prisons and renewed efforts to identify innovative ways to invest in student success is a commendable new vision for supporting students and young people.”

“As Secretary Duncan advances his proposal, we hope that professional development for educators and administrators and specialized support for students will be essential elements of the broader plan. Creating safe school climates requires that we include all stakeholders and work to build plans that are inclusive of the needs of students and communities. We remind Secretary Duncan of the critical role that education support professionals and specialized staff play in helping students thrive by allowing teachers to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning.”

“Educators are in schools and classrooms every day and we know that race impacts education policy and practice. Earlier this year, NEA’s Representative Assembly directed and challenged our Association to have the very discussions Secretary Duncan spoke of so that we can better understand our own biases as educators and leaders. We applaud Secretary Duncan’s candor and honesty and look forward to partnering with him and the Department of Education to do better on behalf of students and educators.”

In July, more than 7,000 educators serving as delegates to NEA’s 2015 Representative Assembly unanimously adopted a proposal to confront institutional racism, including ending the school to prison pipeline.

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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

Contaact: Richard Allen Smith, NEA Communications
202.716.6461 cell,