Educators Plan to March and Release Fund Schools First Report at 41st Annual State Convention of the North Carolina Association of Educators

Mar 14, 2011, 11:16 ET from North Carolina Association of Educators

RALEIGH, N.C., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With nearly 1,000 delegates in attendance and representing every school district in North Carolina, members of the NCAE plan to make their presence felt at the Raleigh Convention Center March 18-19 for the annual meeting of North Carolina's largest education association.

"We're gathering for our annual meeting at an important time for educators, students and schools," said NCAE President Sheri Strickland. "Investment in public education is at a critical juncture. We want elected leaders to have the courage to make public education funding a priority. Our delegates plan to make a statement with a march, and we will release our Fund Schools First report."

Activities related to the state convention officially begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, with the annual NCAE Awards Banquet at the Marriott Raleigh City Center Hotel. More than a dozen awards, recognitions and scholarships are given for leadership, excellence in education and to future teachers at this event.

The convention starts at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 18, with the first business session. NCAE President Sheri Strickland will give her State of the Association address, and NCAE Vice President Rodney Ellis and local NCAE leaders from Durham, Wake and Johnston counties will offer remarks. Eric Becoats, Superintendent of Durham Public Schools and State Superintendent June Atkinson are also scheduled to speak Friday morning. The Association will also officially release its Fund Schools First report, an overview of the dangerous and downward trends in public education funding.

At noon on Friday, delegates will participate in the "Unite, Organize, Empower" Rally and March in support of public education. Delegates will gather on the plaza area in front of the convention center for a rally and then proceed to march from Salisbury Street, to Cabarrus Street, to Gale Street, to Davie Street, and return to the plaza area.

During the second business session on Friday which begins at 2 p.m., Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association (NEA) will give the keynote address. An elementary teacher from Utah, Eskelsen is one of the highest-ranking labor leaders in the country and one of the Association's most influential Hispanic educators. She began her career in education as a cafeteria worker. While working as a kindergarten aide, she was encouraged by the teacher to attend college and earn her education degree. After teaching nine years, she ran for her first elected position -- president of the Utah Education Association. She has since served in key leadership roles, including the NEA Executive Committee and as NEA secretary-treasurer.

Dr. Robert Hollowell, president of the North Carolina Dental Society, will officially accept donated items from convention delegates as part of NCAE's Operation Cooperation during this session. In its 11th year, the annual community service project of the NCAE state convention has provided thousands of books, shoes, clothing items, educational games and backpacks filled with school supplies to children across North Carolina. This year's project – Let's Give Children a Healthy Smile – will focus on collecting dental hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and mouthwash that will be distributed to children throughout the state.

The convention concludes with the third business session beginning on Saturday, March 19, at 9 a.m. During this session, Carolyn McKinney, executive director of the NC Professional Teaching Standards Commission, presents findings from the Teacher Working Conditions Survey and NCAE President Sheri Strickland presents the Friend of Education Award. The convention ends after delegates finish new business items.

Friday, March 18

First Business Session -- 9 a.m. – Noon – Raleigh Convention Center

Scheduled to speak are Durham Mayor William V. "Bill" Bell; Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker; Durham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric J. Becoats; and Dr. June St. Clair Atkinson, North Carolina's state superintendent of public instruction. NCAE President Sheri Strickland will give the State of the Association address. NCAE Vice President Rodney Ellis and Frances Cummings, president of the NCAE Retired Division, will also address delegates.

NoonUnite, Organize, Empower March and Rally

Second Business Session2 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Raleigh Convention Center

Lily Eskelsen, vice president of the National Education Association (NEA) delivers her keynote address to delegates. Dr. Robert Hollowell, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society, will accept items from NCAE's Operation Cooperation Project. NCAE Executive Director Scott Anderson addresses delegates.

Saturday, March 19

Third Business Session9 a.m. until the conclusion of business – Raleigh Convention Center

Carolyn McKinney, director of the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards Commission and a past president of NCAE, talks to delegates about the 2011 Teacher Working Conditions Survey. NCAE Friend of Education Award presentation and remarks from NCAE Associate Executive Joyce Jarrett also occur during this final business session.

NCAE is the state's largest education association, representing nearly 60,000 active, retired and student members.

SOURCE North Carolina Association of Educators