ST. LOUIS, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teachers in the key battleground state of Missouri are mobilizing their coworkers and family members to register and vote as polls show the race for president tightening and the role of women voters becoming ever more critical. NEA Vice President Lily Eskelsen and NEA Secretary-Treasurer Becky Pringle will join Missouri NEA President Chris Guinther and Missouri educators on an "Education Votes" statewide tour to talk with teachers and school personnel about electing leaders who will partner with them to create great public schools. Missouri educators want a president who will embrace a new role for the federal government to help improve public schools. Instead of testing mandates, teachers want the next administration to promote innovation by sharing what's working and providing states with the resources and tools to institute new ideas. Educators also are concerned about closing the achievement gaps and providing schools with adequate funding. College affordability is a sleeper issue in the election, but one that concerns educators. Many of their students will graduate high school ready for college but won't attend because they and their families can't afford it. Nationwide, rising tuition charges and a shortfall in federal and state grants will keep more than 400,000 qualified high school graduates from attending a four-year college. Tuition at Missouri flagship university, the University of Missouri, Columbia, has climbed to $8,450, and this year increased 4 percent. By Election Day, more than 2 million National Education Association members and their families in the 13 battleground states will be reached by a combination of phone, email and direct mail. "Education Votes" Show Me Great Schools Tentative Schedule
-- Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Teachers conduct school visits before and after the bell. -- Oct. 1: Missouri's Teacher of the Year Margaret Williams and her students meet with national and state leaders to discuss the importance of youth voting. -- Oct. 1: Teachers meet with students and professors at University of Missouri in Columbia to discuss college affordability; State Rep. Judy Baker, who is a candidate for the U. S. House from the 9th Congressional District, is expected to attend. -- Oct. 2: Teacher-sponsored rolling billboard tours St. Louis. -- Oct. 2: Teachers hold debate watch parties in St. Louis and Kansas City for undecided voters. The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
SOURCE National Education Association