One of the most important things we do as educators is to stand up for opportunity. All of our students, no matter where they live, deserve an education that exposes them to the world, spurs their success, and encourages them to leave the planet better off than they found it. Unfortunately, inequitable school funding has created a lack of such opportunities in too many communities.
As we make the case for students in the United States, we’re joining a chorus of educators the world over who want the same chances for success for their children that we want for ours. This week, April 24-30, is Global Action Week for Education, and educators from the United States to Uganda are campaigning for the right to a free, quality public education for all.
This week of action was organized by the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a coalition of trade unions, non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations. NEA is a member of the U.S. chapter of GCE.
The theme for the campaign is “Fund the Future: Education Rights Now,” and it’s a call for us to push for more funding for education and to hold governments accountable for providing the funding that students, schools, and educators need. As members of the NEA, let’s make a special request that Congress invest more in public education. Let’s also sign this pledge to turn our vision of public education into a reality
This is a great time for us to make our case. With President Obama’s signature, the Every Student Succeeds Act – which had bipartisan support in Congress – became the law of the land in December 2015. It gives us an opening to spend less time on testing and more time on teaching, and moves us closer to becoming a nation where a student’s ZIP code does not determine the quality of his or her education. But we’ll only achieve these goals if we participate in deciding how the law is put into practice in our communities and schools.
During this year’s Global Action Week for Education, we are also calling attention to the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last September at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015.
Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Aside from a focus on education, the goals also aim to end poverty and hunger, ensure clean water (which takes on a new significance here since revelations about lead-contaminated water in Flint), achieve gender equality, and take other steps to transform our world by 2030.
Whenever I travel on behalf of NEA members, I’m always struck by how similar our battles are all over the world. Here’s our chance to stand in solidarity with educators wherever they live and demand the best for all of our children.