Associates in Action: National Education Foundation

E-newsletter Issue #87 | March 1, 2012

The National Education Association Foundation recently announced a $1 million commitment toward its efforts to close achievement gaps in America. The Foundation’s “Closing the Achievement Gaps Initiative” is an effort to accelerate the achievement rate for under-achieving low-income and minority student groups via targeted philanthropy. 

The funding has been awarded through grants to partnerships of local education associations, school districts and community leaders to create action plans that use progressive, union-led policy and practice to improve student achievement. Union-district teams from Columbus, Ohio, Lee County, Fla., Omaha, Neb., and Springfield, Mass. were selected from among more than 14,000 school districts nationwide to participate in the latest expansion of the NEA Foundation’s Initiative. 

“I have seen the positive effect that strong labor-management relations can have on student learning and applaud recent examples of that type of collaboration in Springfield,” said Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville. “I’m glad that work is being recognized by the NEA Foundation with this funding and hope to see these types of partnerships replicated to ensure that all students have access to high quality educational experiences that prepare them for lifelong success.”

Since 2004, the NEA Foundation has invested more than $9 million to support union-district partnerships eight communities with a common goal. In addition to financial support, the foundation supports grant recipients with expertise and best practices, gleaned from its work with school districts and evidence-based research.

“Teachers are the most valuable asset Nebraska schools have to build a culture of continuous improvement toward the dual goals of excellence and equity ,” said Nebraska Education Commissioner Roger Breed. “I applaud the NEA, Nebraska State Education Association, Omaha Education Association and the four Omaha Public Schools teachers and leaders for their Closing the Achievement Gap initiative and I look forward to collaborating with them to accomplish their goals.” 

To learn more about this initiative, please visit

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