|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 5, 2004
National Education Association
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NEA Delegates Recommend Kerry for President
Washington, D.C. - The National Education Association's (NEA) Representative Assembly (RA) today voted to recommend to its members the election of Sen. John F. Kerry as the president of the United States. The recommendation will be communicated to the 2.7 million NEA members for their consideration in November's general election.
The RA delegates voted to recommend Kerry by 86.5 percent. The recommendation requires a 58 percent majority of voting RA delegates. The action follows a recommendation made in late April by the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education Council, the Association's political action committee.
"This Assembly is proud to recommend Senator John Kerry for the office of United States president," said Reg Weaver, president of the NEA. "We are proud to recommend to our members across the country a candidate who fights for public education and the right of America's children to an education meeting their needs - and the needs of our communities and nation."
"We believe John Kerry will work with educators to develop common-sense solutions to the challenges in America's classrooms, schools and communities," Weaver said. He noted that Kerry has fought vigorously for adequate funding for education and that he has consistently fought against proposals that would weaken public education, such as private-school tuition vouchers.
Kerry is scheduled to address the RA delegates on July 6. The Kerry recommendation ends a yearlong process, which included a questionnaire, a one-on-one interview with the NEA president, and a review of his record and statements on issues affecting public education and students.
Weaver noted several issues Kerry has worked on over the years, including small class sizes, early childhood education and expanded access to higher education. "We believe Senator Kerry, as president, will continue the fight for these and other public education issues so important to America's parents, communities and our nation's future," Weaver said.
Kerry has said repeatedly that he will make it one of his first priorities to work with Congress to live up to the funding commitments made in the 'No Child Left Behind' Act. In making the recommendation, Weaver said NEA delegates know that "leadership is more than a memorable slogan and you cannot have reform without resources. We believe Senator Kerry is a candidates who understands that and will follow through."
All of the 2004 presidential candidates were invited to participate in the NEA political recommendation process. President George W. Bush declined to participate.
The NEA's recommendation for federal candidates, through its Fund's process, is based on a candidate's support for issues affecting children and public education as contained in the NEA Legislative Program, adopted each year by the NEA RA. Issues on the questionnaire included support for needed changes in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known at the 'No Child Left Behind' Act; child nutrition,; health and child care; funding for education, and federal policies affecting teachers and other education employees, such as wages, hours and working conditions.
The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 2.7 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.