PRESS RELEASE from the National Education Association

Contact: Brian Washington

June 3, 2007

Public Schools Neglected Again in Democratic Presidential Debate
Manchester, NH—The National Education Association (NEA) is disappointed that during a two-hour debate featuring the Democratic candidates for President that there were no questions posed about the future of public education.  This marks the second time a nationally televised debate of the Democratic contenders for president has failed to explore the candidates’ views on what American voters consistently list as a top domestic issue.

While there were no official questions about public education, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson addressed the issue head-on.  When candidates were asked to identify their number one priority for their first one hundred days in office if elected, Richardson said improving public schools.

 “I would upgrade our schools,” said Richardson.  “I would have preschool for every American, full-day kindergarten. I would pay our teachers what they deserve.  I'd have a minimum wage for our teachers, $40,000.  I did that in New Mexico.  We went from 49th to 29th [in teacher salaries].”

The NEA will continue to urge all the candidates from both parties to outline their views about how to create great public schools for every child.

NEA believes the presidential campaigns represent an opportunity to change course on the flawed policies currently included in No Child Left Behind. The Association has outlined several priorities for reauthorization of No Child Left Behind including using more than a one-time, standardized test to measure student success, reducing class size to help students learn, and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in America’s public school classrooms.

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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.