"When I was a boy on the Mississippi River there was a proposition in a township there to discontinue public schools because they were too expensive. An old farmer spoke up and said if they stopped building the schools they would not save anything, because every time a school was closed a jail had to be built." —Mark Twain
Each year during the week prior to Thanksgiving week, American Education Week is observed. This year’s national observation of American Education Week will take place next week, November 13-17.
American Education Week is a great opportunity to recognize the many ways that Americans work together to provide the very best for our young people – and to recognize the importance of public education in securing the future of our communities, our state, and our nation. Teachers, parents, administrators, school support staff, school board members, business, and the community at large all play a part in helping young people in our schools develop to their fullest potential.
Did you know that American Education Week actually in Iowa?
In 1921, the National Education Association’s Representative Assembly met in Des Moines. The NEA passed a resolution calling for the designation of one week each year to spotlight education. In its resolution, 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."
This resolution was the continuation of a discussion between the NEA and the American Legion which started in 1919. The 1921 conventions of both organizations adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education. The first observance of American Education Week occurred December 4-10, 1921, with the NEA and American Legion as the cosponsors. A year later, the then U.S. Department of Education joined the effort as a co-sponsor, and the National PTA followed in 1938.
Other national organizations jumped on board as co-sponsors, including the American Legion Auxiliary, the American Association of School Administrators, the National School Boards Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
The North Tama school board recently adopted a resolution recognizing public schools as the backbone of our republic and designating November 13-17 as American Education Week. That resolution is included with this column. Your school board believes, as Benjamin Franklin did, that, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” and they understand the role that North Tama’s schools play in the community. I thank them – and you – for your support of North Tama Schools.
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