NEA President: Clinton is a Strong Leader Who Will Do What is Best for America’s Students

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America’s largest labor union will mobilize to support Hillary Clinton for president in Democratic primary

Hillary Clinton meets with educators at the National Education Association meeting in Washington on Oct. 3, 2015.

“Clinton’s support for our students and public education is unmatched," said Molly Donahue, a middle school teacher from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the 3-million strong National Education Association, announced today that the largest labor union in the country will support Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic primary for president of the United States.

“The National Education Association proudly supports Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States,” said Eskelsen García. “Clinton is a strong leader who will do what is best for America’s students. For more than four decades, Clinton has fought to make sure all children have a fair opportunity to succeed regardless of their ZIP code. Clinton will continue to advocate on behalf of students, educators and working families because she understands the road to a stronger U.S. economy starts in America’s public schools.”

“The teachers and educators of the NEA shape our future,” said Clinton, upon learning about the Association’s support. “By opening new horizons for children, they spark new ideas, innovations, and industries. Our educators are the frontline fighters building a stronger and more prosperous America—and I know it is not an easy job. NEA members work hard every day to provide the education and support our children need to grow and prosper. I know from personal experience that a teacher can make a profound difference in a child’s life. My mother had a difficult and painful childhood, and when she didn't have enough to eat, her first-grade teacher noticed—and quietly shared her own lunch. Decades later, I am grateful to that teacher every day.”

Clinton is committed to giving educators a stronger voice in making a difference for their students. She has a proven record as a supporter of public education and working families that goes back decades, evidenced by her work at the Children’s Defense Fund, as the first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the United States, and as a U.S. senator she earned an “A” ranking in NEA’s Congressional Report Card. She also earned NEA’s highest honor, the Friend of Education Award, at its 1999 convention.

“Clinton has consistently stood up for public educators and worked to ensure that our public schools receive the support they need,” said Allison Estes Brown, a special education teacher from Plymouth, New Hampshire. “She understands the difference that committed, talented educators make in a child’s life, and she is ready to take action to ensure that our public schools are supported and successful.”

Clinton knows that educators, as trusted professionals, are best equipped to make school and classroom decisions to ensure student success. She is a strong advocate for early education and recently offered a proposal on early childhood education that includes universal pre-K and doubles funding for Head Start and the Early Head Start Partnership grant program while cutting taxes to ease the burden of child care costs on families.

“Clinton’s support for our students and public education is unmatched,” said Molly Donahue, a middle school teacher from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “She is the only candidate in this race who will make the tough decisions on behalf of our students because we share the same passion for making a difference in the lives of those whom we serve. I know she will make the right choices to empower educators to do what is best for students.”

Clinton has a long history of fighting to close the opportunity gaps for America’s schoolchildren. She advocated for Title I equity resources and for fully funding the federal portion of special education. She led efforts to pass an amendment to increase federal IDEA funding by $4 billion, which helped students with special needs. Hillary recently proposed a plan to help undergraduates pay tuition at public colleges without needing loans. This plan would combine state grants that guarantee students would not have to take out loans to cover tuition at four-year public colleges and universities.

“I’ve stood with educators throughout my career—from my early days working at the Children’s Defense Fund to my success creating a new teacher recruitment program in the Senate,” said Clinton. “As President, I will fight to defend workers’ right to organize and unions’ right to bargain collectively, and I will ensure that teachers always have a voice and a seat at the table in making decisions that impact their work. I will fight to raise incomes and to ensure that hardworking Americans can retire with dignity and security. We have to make sure that every family in America doesn’t just survive, but thrives. I’m honored to stand with the National Education Association to support teachers and education support professionals and grow our economy.”

Clinton will reduce the role of standardized tests in public education because she agrees with educators that no bubble test can measure a student’s curiosity. Teachers need more time to teach and students need more time for learning.

With more than 50 percent of all children attending public schools living in poverty, and the number of homeless children in public schools doubling since before the recession, Clinton knows America has swung out of balance. It’s getting harder to get by, let alone get ahead, for working families. Everyone who works should make ends meet, have a say about their futures, and be able to negotiate better wages and benefits to support a family. Clinton gets that and will fight for America’s working families. She believes a collective voice gives educators the ability to not just maintain a fair workplace but also help them stand up and advocate for their students.

“So many education support professionals, students and their families are barely making ends meet. We all deserve better, starting with a living wage, and Clinton understands that,” said Debby Chandler, an attendance secretary and parent-community specialist from Spokane, Washington.

“Ask educators why they do what they do in schools around the country every day, and they will respond instantly that it’s because they believe in children,” added Eskelsen García. “Educators know that Clinton is a true partner and always will give us a voice in working to not only create stronger public schools but to create a stronger America.”

About NEA’s electoral and political footprint
NEA members are a robust and significant voting bloc, totaling 5 million nationwide when families are included. In fact, one in 100 Americans is member of NEA. Among voters, NEA household voters amount to one in every 32 votes. NEA voters are highly reliable with turnout rates exceeding 90 percent in the most critical battleground states. NEA is one of the largest labor unions, if not the largest, in the critically important primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. Educators are admired and respective spokespeople on many issues.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional 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

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