Teaching Profession

National Teachers’ Union Ushers in New Leadership

By Liana Loewus — July 09, 2014 1 min read

For Lily Eskelsen García, who was expected to be chosen last week as the next president of the National Education Association, it all comes back to testing.

Debates around standards, teacher preparation, and other teacher-quality issues “will come to naught if we don’t get one thing right first,” she said in a phone interview before the election, scheduled to take place in early July at the union’s Representative Assembly in Denver. “We’ve got to get rid of misusing and abusing tests.”

Above all, she’s concerned about the high-stakes decisions, in particular related to staffing and student retention, that are increasingly being linked to test scores.

“Until we stop abusing commercial standardized tests to make decisions they were never designed to make, we will get everything wrong,” she said.

Ms. García, 59, has served as the vice president of the 3 million-member teachers’ union since the last election in 2008. She is on track to take over from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel on Sept. 1.

Among Mr. Van Roekel’s significant achievements during his six-year tenure was the creation of a $6 million grant program to support state and local student-centered projects. NEA delegates approved a $3 dues hike for the program, called the Fund for Great Public Schools, at last year’s convention. Ms. García said she’s “excited about” the initiative and plans to continue supporting and refining it.

A native of Utah, Ms. García began her education career working in a school cafeteria. She then went to the University of Utah—supplementing her scholarships and loans as a folk-singing busker—and earned a degree in elementary education. After nine years of teaching, she was named the Utah Teacher of the Year. Soon after, she was elected president of her state’s union affiliate.

Ms. García made an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Congress in 1998. In 2011, President Barack Obama named her to the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the July 10, 2014 edition of Education Week as National Teachers’ Union Ushers in New Leadership

Events

School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: What Did We Learn About Schooling Models This Year?
After a year of living with the pandemic, what schooling models might we turn to as we look ahead to improve the student learning experience? Could year-round schooling be one of them? What about online
School & District Management Webinar What's Ahead for Hybrid Learning: Putting Best Practices in Motion
It’s safe to say hybrid learning—a mix of in-person and remote instruction that evolved quickly during the pandemic—is probably here to stay in K-12 education to some extent. That is the case even though increasing
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Building Equitable Systems: Moving Math From Gatekeeper to Opportunity Gateway
The importance of disrupting traditional American math practices and adopting high-quality math curriculum continues to be essential for changing the trajectory of historically under-resourced schools. Building systems around high-quality math curriculum also is necessary to
Content provided by Partnership for L.A. Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession Nearly 9 in 10 Teachers Willing to Work in Schools Once Vaccinated, Survey Finds
Nearly half of educators who belong to the National Education Association have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site set up for teachers and school staff in Reading, Pa., on March 15.
Matt Rourke/AP
Teaching Profession Q&A Nation's Top Teachers Discuss the Post-Pandemic Future of the Profession
Despite the difficulties this school year brought, the four finalists for the National Teacher of the Year award say they're hopeful.
11 min read
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
National Teacher of the Year Finalists (clockwise from top left): Alejandro Diasgranados, Juliana Urtubey, John Arthur, Maureen Stover
Courtesy of CCSSO
Teaching Profession Teachers Are Stressed Out, and It's Causing Some to Quit
Stress, more so than low pay, is the main reason public school teachers quit. And COVID-19 has increased the pressure.
7 min read
Image of exit doors.
pavel_balanenko/iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Opinion Should Teachers Be Prioritized for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Not all states are moving teachers to the front of the vaccination line. Researchers discuss the implications for in-person learning.
6 min read
Teacher Lizbeth Osuna from Cooper Elementary receives the Moderna vaccine at a CPS vaccination site at Roberto Clemente High School in Chicago, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.
Chicago public school teacher Lizbeth Osuna receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a school vaccination site last week.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP