WASHINGTON - July 7 - The National Education Association (NEA) gave its highest honor, the Friend of Education Award, today to Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF). This annual award recognizes individuals whose leadership, acts and support have raised the level of excellence in education in the United States.
NEA President Reg Weaver presented Edelman with the award on the closing day of the Association's Annual Meeting at the Washington Convention Center. More than 9,000 NEA members convened in the nation's capital for the weeklong convention, July 2-7.
"I could not think of a more deserving recipient for this award than Marian Wright Edelman," said Weaver. "She has been a true pioneer in paving the way for many disadvantaged children to receive an equal opportunity in education. Over the years, she has advocated to truly ensure that no child is left behind."
Today, Edelman spoke passionately to the NEA Membership about the importance of creating a movement to truly Leave No Child Behind®. She commended educators on their tremendous work with our countries most valuable resource, our children. She challenged them to join her in the fight to change our national priorities and reassess our values to place children on top.
"Fifty years after Brown vs. the Board of Education ended legally sanctioned racial segregation in public schools, the great unfinished business of our nation is to open wide the doors of equal education and economic opportunity to every child in the United States," said Edelman. "The Children's Defense Fund and the NEA recognize the potential in all children, and we will continue to work together to truly leave no child behind. "
NEA state affiliates nominate their person of choice for the Friend of Education Award. Both the North Carolina and Nebraska state affiliates nominated Edelman to receive this honor. Former Friend of Education Award recipients include President Bill Clinton, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, U.S. Senator James Jeffords and, most recently, the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone.
For more information about Marian Wright Edelman and CDF's accomplishments, see http://www.childrensdefense.org/about/mwe.asp