PRESS RELEASE from the National Education Association

Contact: Will Potter

April 26, 2007

NEA Applauds Plan by Gates, Broad Foundations to Prompt National Dialogue on Education

WASHINGTON — The National Education Association applauded The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation for teaming up to make education a national priority in the 2008 presidential race. The Strong American Schools project aims to place the issue of quality public education at the top of every candidate’s agenda, regardless of political party.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Reg Weaver:

"We are thrilled about the opportunity to have a national dialogue on how we can all fulfill our responsibility to make America' s public schools great for every child. Education deserves to be at the top of any domestic policy agenda, regardless of a candidate’s political party. We hope the 2008 presidential candidates will discuss meaningful gameplans for improving public schools and providing them with adequate resources, rather than paying lip service to the importance of public education.

"A discussion of professional pay for America's  teachers is long overdue. All teachers are underpaid, and we are asking all presidential candidates to embrace our proposal of a minimum salary for teachers of $40,000 and a living wage for education support professionals. Any differentiated pay plans should help the poorest and hardest to staff schools attract and keep qualified teachers. Teachers play a critical role in preparing students to succeed and compete in a global society, and they have earned the right to professional respect.

"We look forward to a national conversation about providing all students with public schools that are well-funded and world-class."


The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers