Northwest Iowa — School boards, school administrators, teachers, staff, students, parents, and the public across northwest Iowa celebrated American Education Week this week.
The National Education Association — or NEA — says that the week just ended provided all Americans with an opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.
The theme of the week was reflected in special observances each day of the 2019 weeklong celebration:
Monday, November 18, 2019: Kickoff Day
Tuesday, November 19, 2019: Parents Day
Wednesday, November 20, 2019: Education Support Professionals Day
Thursday, November 21, 2019: Educator for a Day
Friday, November 22, 2019: Substitute Educators Day
National Education Week has its roots right here in Iowa.
Exactly 100 years ago, the NEA was distressed that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate and 9 percent were physically unfit. Representatives of the NEA and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways to generate public support for education.
The conventions of both organizations subsequently adopted resolutions of support for a national effort to raise public awareness of the importance of education. In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly in Des Moines, Iowa, called 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.”