American Education Week focuses on public schools for all
Communities across the nation will join the National Education Association this week to celebrate the 96th annual American Education Week. This year’s theme is “Public Schools for All,” and emphasizes that the nation’s public schools are here for each and every student — no matter the circumstance, everyone is welcome and all deserve the support, tools and time to learn.
In a proclamation released last week recognizing the event, President Donald Trump reminded the American people of the crucial role public education plays in the future success of the country.
“During American Education Week, we recognize that the foundation of the American Dream is a quality education that instills lifelong skills and develops strong character. All our Nation’s children deserve the chance to be successful, to live fulfilling lives, and to give back to our communities,” Trump said. “As parents, teachers, and advocates, we recommit to ensuring that all children in America have a meaningful opportunity to harness their full potential.”
American Education Week honors students’ determination to learn, recognizes the professionalism and dedication of teachers, support staff, and other educators, thanks parents and members of the community who help students succeed, and rededicates the community at large to quality public education for every student.
“Public schools are the cornerstone of our communities. We welcome students of all backgrounds, abilities and incomes, and each of us plays a role in ensuring our schools are open to all,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “During American Education Week, it’s time for us to show our public school pride. Together, we’ll show what makes our public schools some of the best in the world: all of us, each of us.”
Following Kickoff Day on Monday, during which NEA announced the event on their website and social media channels, each day this week focuses on a different component of public education that is critical to its overall success: parents, education support professionals, educators, and substitute educators.
Tuesday, Nov. 14 is Parents Day, and schools will invite parents into the classroom for a hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child.
“When families devote time and effort to their children’s education, students earn higher grades, have more positive attitudes about school and homework, and are more likely to graduate. There can be no greater investment than into the success of our children,” said President Trump in his proclamation.
Wednesday is a national day of recognition of education support professionals who are integral members of the education team. Education Support Professionals (ESP) Day focuses on the importance of these school employees, who make up 40 percent of the school staff and take care of students every day, making sure they have the tools they need to succeed in school.
Thursday, Nov. 16 is AEW’S Educator for a Day, and leaders across the country will be invited to serve as educators in their local public school districts to get a glimpse of a day in the life of a school employee.
Friday, Nov. 17 is Substitute Educators Day, and honors the educators who are called upon to stand in for regularly employed teachers.
“American Education Week serves as a tribute to the team of people who work with our students-everyone from the classroom teacher and the bus driver to the cafeteria worker and the administration staff — plus countless others,” said Eskelsen Garcia. “We honor and thank them for the work they do every day to make sure that our students are safe and ready and able to learn.”
Celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving, American Education Week was first celebrated in 1921 with NEA and the American Legion as co-sponsors. The week-long celebration grew out of national concern about illiteracy. The original goal of American Education Week — to generate public awareness and support for education — continues today.
To join the campaign “Public Schools For All,” NEA is asking people to snap a photo that represents their pride in public schools and post it to their social channels using #Publicschoolsforall. To find out more about American Education Week, visit www.nea.org/aew or contact your local public school.