Nov. 14, 2018 — American Education Week, Nov. 12 to 16, is a nationwide annual observance that highlights the importance and dedication of teachers and staff to the education process. Throughout the week, the Siuslaw School District will be recognizing the work done by these dedicated individuals by giving small tokens of appreciation to faculty and staff throughout the week.
The National Education Association (NEA) was one of the creators and original sponsors of the almost century-old recognition effort, first meeting with the American Legion in 1919 to address illiteracy among veterans of World War I.
In its initial resolution, drafted in 1921, the NEA called for: “An educational week ... observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
U.S. President Donald Trump released a proclamation last week in expectation of this week’s observance, highlighting the importance of a good education for all Americans.
According to the official proclamation released by the White House, American Education Week is about highlighting the commitment to ensuring all Americans have access to an affordable, high-quality education, as well as recognizing the hard work of the nation’s parents, guardians, teachers and school leaders to ensure every child is prepared to join today’s growing workforce.
“This week, we are reminded of our great responsibility to empower our nation’s students to develop the skills needed to pursue meaningful careers. We must continue our efforts to expand freedom and opportunity in education, with the knowledge that our country’s future relies on today’s students,” says the proclamation, which carried the theme for this year’s Education Week as: “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.”
Ironically, this year’s observance of American Education Week comes one week after the rejection of the Siuslaw School District’s request for an $108 million bond to replace the high school and upgrade the elementary and middle schools.
Siuslaw School Board Chair Suzanne Mann-Heintz was understandably disappointed with the outcome of the vote on the school bond. She said she wants those in the community who supported Measure 20-291 to know the goal of convincing the community of the importance of modern, safe schools has not ended.
“I am saddened by our failure to pass the school bond measure. The problems in our old buildings with outdated mechanical equipment and inadequate space will not go away,” Mann-Heintz said. “There is no other means for schools to pay for capital improvements than to go to the voters. The school board will have to ask again. As we go back to the drawing board, we are listening and welcome the community’s feedback, suggestions and collaboration.”
Despite the setback, Vonnie McClellan, executive assistant to Siuslaw School Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak and to the board, said there were still several events planned for this week to celebrate the good work by teachers, administrators and the community in support of education.
“During this year’s American Education Week, millions of educators, parents, students and community leaders will join the National Education Association (NEA) in raising awareness about the critical need to provide every child with a quality public education,” she said. “Here in Florence, the Siuslaw School District and School Board will be treating all staff to goodie bags and cards made by students as a way of expressing gratitude for the work they do, every day.
“Board members and others will be on hand to say a personal thank you to staff,” McClellan added. “It will also help reinforce American Education Week’s theme, ‘Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.’ The theme represents NEA’s vision of calling upon all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child.”