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Local educator attends NEA Assembly

ST. PAUL, Minn., July 19, 2013 - Education Minnesota member Kathryn Fairbanks from the Cass Lake-Bena school district recently joined 9,000 other delegates from around the country at the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly in Atlanta. Fairbanks lives in Bemidji.

The annual event brings together leading educators from around the country in an effort to help improve the quality of American education.

“It’s an honor to attend such a gathering,” Fairbanks said. “I’m gratified to be able to contribute to improving education for our children.”

The week-long assembly focused on educators roles in shaping education policy. Delegates approved a dues increase, which will generate more than $6 million to fund the Great Public Schools Grants program. The program will provide state and local affiliates grants to support projects to boost student learning, such as school safety and anti-bullying programs, and technology initiatives to improve classroom instruction and student learning.

Delegates also adopted a new policy statement that acknowledges the importance of digital learning, as well as educator interaction with students. The policy reflects the NEA’s first broad endorsement of combining digital learning with face-to-face instruction to create an optimal student learning environment.

“It’s such an important time in education,” Fairbanks said. “Educators are in a unique position to see first-hand what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom. It’s important for us to share that knowledge with policymakers.”

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel urged the delegates to take on leadership roles, fight for social justice and work together to create positive change for students in their schools and classrooms—ensuring great public schools for every student.

Fairbanks was one of 175 Minnesota educators who participated in the annual assembly in early July.

Education Minnesota and its local unions and intermediate organization provide the funding for delegates’ attendance.

The National Education Association is the nation’s largest educators union, with 3.2 million members, and is affiliated with Education Minnesota, the state’s educators union.

About Education Minnesota

Education Minnesota represents 70,000 professionals working together for excellence in education for all students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and educational support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO. More information about Education Minnesota is available at


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