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Lily Eskelsen García: Educators share President Obama’s vision for America

President’s last State of the Union address gives working families a sense of possibility for the future

WASHINGTON - January 12, 2016 -

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address to the nation before a joint session of Congress tonight.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“We applaud President Barack Obama for presenting a bold vision for America that continues to build on his historic and consequential presidency. We are encouraged by his sense of possibility of a brighter future for our country. The president’s vision rightly reflects educators’ inherent can-do optimism and our strong belief that the road to economic prosperity begins with a nation that provides more opportunity for all students regardless of ZIP code.

“While much has been accomplished in the past seven years, the stakes are still high for working families as they continue to work harder and harder just to make ends meet. President Obama understands that in order to put more opportunity within reach of more families we need to build on the progress already made, expand the middle class, and close the persistent disparity gap. This will give more families a leg up to move into more solid economic footing.

“As the president enters his last year in office, we urge him to continue to put students and families before politics. We encourage him to stay the course and to rise above partisan politics as he and Congress did with the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). It took bipartisan cooperation, leadership, and hard work to get the job done with the passage of ESSA. This was an important step forward in ushering in a new era for public education and to provide every student the opportunity, support, tools, and time to learn.

“We believe what President Obama outlined tonight is spot on and makes common sense. We join the president in calling on policymakers to set aside their differences and work in a bipartisan manner to address the pressing issues facing our country. We need to make college more affordable so that our students aren’t burdened by student loan debt, fix our nation’s broken immigration system, and protect our students, educators, and communities from further harm, pain and needless gun violence.

“Success, boundless opportunities and the American Dream are within reach of our kids. With a president, families, and a nation of educators who believe in them, our kids will have a stronger country and brighter future. Now we move forward knowing that with a shared, positive vision for America, collaboration, and hard work, the best is yet to come. We look forward to working with Congress and President Obama to help enact an opportunity agenda that works for all.”

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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