Van Roekel Urges NEA to Act in “Economic Crisis”

In his July 3 Representative Assembly keynote speech, Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association (NEA) and SMHC Task Force member, addressed the economic and social challenges currently threatening education in the United States. He called on NEA’s leadership to focus its energies in three areas:

  1. Leading the efforts to transform public education
  2. Helping to rebuild to middle class by strengthening the labor movement
  3. Building the NEA’s capacity as an organization, so as to further increase its influence

Van Roekel also expressed the NEA’s positions on the hot topics in education today, including accountability and compensation. On accountability, he emphasized that NEA’s members “overwhelmingly believe that they should be accountable for what happens in the classroom,” but stressed the need to hold accountable students, parents, school administrators, communities, and policymakers, as well. On compensation, he mentioned many members’ willingness to consider alternatives to the current systems. To read the full speech, please visit

Other relevant resources from the NEA are also available in the Other Resources section of the SMHC Web site.

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