NEA President meets with Tampa-area educators on the heels of ‘Race to the Top’ announcement

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel hosted a town hall meeting with Tampa-area educators at the Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association Community Center.  He discussed the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – the current version is known as the No Child Left Behind Act. He also addressed Race to the Top, the Gates Foundation grant to Hillsborough County, education funding, and recruiting and retaining quality educators.

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Earlier in the day, Van Roekel, along with Florida Education Association President Andy Ford and local presidents Jean Clements and Kim Black, met with the editorial boards of the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times. Van Roekel also did an in-studio interview with NPR affiliate WMNF-AM.

Core Facts

  1. Florida joined eight other states and the District of Columbia Tuesday in winning the second round of the Department of Education's Race to the Top competition. Florida will use the $700 million to meet two goals: to double the percentage of incoming high school freshmen who graduate and go on to college and to help cut the achievement gap in half by 2015. Earlier this year, the Gates Foundation gave Hillsborough County $100 million to put a system into place that will look at multiple indicators of student achievement, not just test scores, and consider all of them in the evaluation of teachers. Hillsborough CTA was involved at every step in developing this system.

  2. The NEA president visited Tampa as part of a week-long, multi-city, back-to-school tour. In addition to getting school staff energized about the upcoming school year, Van Roekel has joined local and state education leaders across the country in highlighting public school innovation, service learning, partnerships, and teacher- and union-led school transformation efforts.

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Quotes

We appreciated NEA President Dennis Van Roekel meeting with Tampa-area educators. There’s a lot going on in education in Tampa and throughout Florida right now. Florida just received the Race to the Top grant, we’re working with the Gates Foundation on a new teacher evaluation system in Hillsborough that could be a model for the rest of the state, and we’re continuously working to ensure Florida’s students get the quality education they deserve.

Andy Ford, President, Florida Education Association

Educators in Hillsborough County were excited about NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s visit to Tampa. Public schools across the nation are facing unprecedented challenges, and many communities are creating innovative solutions—and that includes Hillsborough County. We appreciated hearing his perspective on the national scene and sharing with him some of the great things that teachers are doing here in Hillsborough County.

Jean Clements, President, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association

We know that great things are happening in Florida’s public schools. This is our chance to listen and figure out where and how these great ideas can be replicated.

Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association

Plain and simple, the status quo is not acceptable. The world has changed, and we need a different system. By building mutual respect and trust in the process, the Gates Foundation has ensured trust in the results. And by requiring collaboration, it has laid the groundwork for dramatically increasing teacher quality and student achievement, and transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.

Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association

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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.

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