March 31, 2023

Remarks by Vice President Harris at the Countrywide Education and learning Association 2022 Once-a-year Assembly and Agent Assembly

McCormick Position Conference Center
Chicago, Illinois

5:12 P.M. CDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Very good afternoon, NEA!  Great afternoon!  (Applause.) 
Oh, what a sight my eyes behold.  I am so delighted to be with you all this afternoon.  I am so pleased to be with you.  And thank you for every little thing you do and every thing you are.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 
And, Becky, thank you for remaining this kind of an amazing chief in extraordinary instances. (Applause.)  Truly.  I’ve run into her in diverse destinations around the region, and she is generally speaking about you and the great importance of this organization and the value of this corporation to the foreseeable future of our nation.  Thank you, Becky, for that introduction.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
So, in advance of I start out with my handle to you, I want to just briefly but importantly deal with the tragedy just miles away in Highland Park.
As we all know, yesterday should have been a day to appear jointly with family and good friends to celebrate our nation’s independence.  And as a substitute, that neighborhood suffered a violent tragedy.  Children, mom and dad, grandparents — victims to a senseless act of gun violence. 
And Doug, who is below with me, he and I — of system, we mourn, as you do, for individuals who were killed.  And we pray for people who were wounded.  And we all grieve, I know, for the life that are without end transformed in that neighborhood, including, of class, the learners and the teachers of that neighborhood who have suffered good decline. 
And I really don’t will need to explain to NEA: We require to conclusion this horror.  We have to have to cease this violence.  (Applause.) 
And we will have to secure our communities from the terror of gun violence.  You know, I’ve mentioned it just before: Adequate is sufficient.  (Applause.) 
I imply, here we are, and our country is still mourning the loss of individuals 19 babies and their two lecturers in Uvalde.  This massacre was the most the latest reminder — in Uvalde — of the hazards that our young children and our educators deal with every day.
Lecturers really should not have to apply barricading a classroom.  (Applause.)  Teachers should really not have to know how to treat a gunshot wound.  (Applause.)  And academics ought to not be told that “Lives would have been saved if only you had a gun.”  (Applause.) 
Now, we have designed some progress.  For the first time in 30 a long time, our President, Joe Biden, signed a federal gun safety invoice.  (Applause.)  And it strengthens background checks, and it closes what we connect with the “boyfriend loophole,” and it involves funding for mental wellness companies and school protection. 
But we have a lot more to do.  We have far more to do.  (Applause.) 
And Congress demands to have the courage to act and renew the assault weapons ban.  (Applause.) 
You know, I’ll discuss in a minute about how you as educators train the small children so a lot.  And you instruct the kids, amongst a lot of items, rationale.
So, let us discuss about what an assault weapon is created to do.  An assault weapon is developed to kill a whole lot of human beings promptly.  There is no motive that we have weapons of war on the streets of The usa.  We have to have realistic gun basic safety legal guidelines!  (Applause.) 
And we will need to have Congress quit protecting those people gun companies with the liability protect.  Repeal it!  Repeal it! (Applause.) 
So we can not be deterred.  We know we have problems.  We cannot be deterred.
And, NEA, we will not give up this battle.  We will not tire simply because I know who you are that is just not in our mother nature.  (Applause.)
And that, NEA, is why I am so honored to be here with you — since I do know this room.  This is a space of fighters.  And I know — (applause) — how deeply own this perform is to each individual 1 of you. 
As an educator, your work does not prevent at the conclusion of the working day when you stroll out of your university.  Your get the job done is entire-time.  (Applause.)  I know that. 
Learners occur to your classroom prior to the working day commences — for assistance with homework from time to time with an empty belly that you feed — (applause) or just to have somebody they have confidence in to communicate with.  (Applause.)  Your students look to you to explain to them almost everything is heading to be ok, even from time to time when you may well not be positive. 
But you keep on to display up.  And that is why the President and I are honored to spouse with the NEA to make our nation’s leaders.  (Applause.)
And as a individual level of pride for all of us to have an educator and a single of your active customers in the White Household as Initial Girl — (laughs) — (applause) — Dr. Jill Biden.  Sure.  (Applause.) 
And I can notify you — so I occasionally see her in a diverse predicament than you could, and let me just notify you one thing.  I have viewed her go from the classroom specifically to gatherings at the White Home or across the country and all around the earth, grading papers in among.  (Applause.)  So, like you, she is a outstanding educator who evokes us all.
NEA, who you are and what you do is also particular to me.  I’ve shared with some of you: My to start with-grade instructor, Mrs. Frances Wilson — God rest her soul — attended my law school graduation.  (Applause.)  And there are numerous men and women who have contributed to me to be in a position to serve as the to start with girl Vice President of the United States — (applause) — but I’m heading to inform you, Mrs. Wilson was just one of the earliest.  (Applause.)
So, you all, you not only shape life, but you also form policies. 
And we read you when we took office environment when you told us about the problems that issue most to you and your students. 
We read you when you explained to us about the anxiety and the uncertainty that you faced for the duration of the pandemic and about the further enable small children wanted when they returned to the classroom. So, with your aid, we directed above $120 billion to our nation’s schools by the American Rescue Strategy — with your assistance.  (Applause.)
And this funding also led to a new initiative, launched just these days, to assistance learners who fell driving for the duration of the pandemic, which signifies 250,000 tutors and mentors across the nation will be in schools to give pupils the help they need and to support your do the job each day.  (Applause.)
We also listened to you when you said your structures are falling apart — that the school buildings are slipping aside.  (Applause.)  We listened to you that air conditioners ended up broken in the summer months heat.  We listened to you when you said too several of our small children drink water poisoned with lead and breathe risky fumes from their bus ride to faculty.  (Applause.)
We listened to you when you explained your college students can’t do their homework mainly because they are unable to pay for nor do they have obtain to be able to get on-line.  (Applause.)
So we handed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, and it will restore aging college infrastructure to help save faculties cash.  It will substitute lead pipes in 400,000 universities and childcare amenities across the nation — (applause) — so that our small children can consume clear drinking water.  It will electrify our nation’s college buses so youngsters can have clean air to breathe.  (Applause.)  It will make substantial-pace Online accessible and economical to every single American household. 
And this will come about because of your aid and your management.  Thank you, NEA.  (Applause.)
And we nonetheless have far more to do, and we have so substantially to do together.
NEA, you are terribly successful as a team advocate for transform, which is why we know that you have been ready to see the success you have achieved.  And it is no shock why, for the reason that we know unions know how to arrange.  (Applause.)
I say all above the state: You may perhaps not be a member of a union, but you greater thank the union for the five-working day function week and weekends, compensated depart.  (Applause.)
And I often fulfill — and it’s — I know you do, and several are right here — I usually satisfy with younger organizers from about the state.  And what’s thrilling is that we are viewing in a new, younger era that they want the added benefits and the protections that come from signing up for a union.  (Applause.)  They want it.  They want it.  For the reason that they know what we all know: Unions give personnel a voice.  (Applause.)
And so, this is an historic moment, I imagine, for the labor movement.  Right now, unions have their greatest approval rating because 1965.  (Applause.)  About 50 % of all non-union workers say they would be part of a union if specified the likelihood.  That is pretty much 60 million folks.  (Applause.)  Imagine about that.
But we also know there are obstructions for them to satisfy that motivation.  And we know what it is.  A person is that lots of folks nonetheless don’t know how to join a union, and so that’s aspect of the work we have in advance is to go on to remind them about how.  But even if they do know how, we also know, across our place, folks confront barriers that have been created up around the yrs by corporate pursuits and anti-union politicians and regressive courtroom instances.  (Applause.)
I’ve fought many of people conditions when I was Lawyer Standard of California, so we know the obstructions are there.  (Applause.)
California is in the residence.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)
And so, our administration, together with you, we are all carrying out a lot to tear down all those boundaries. 
And I’ll notify you, I’m incredibly happy to lead the White House Task Power on Worker Arranging and Empowerment, alongside with my superior mate — our excellent pal — Secretary Marty Walsh.  And — (applause) — from Massachusetts. 
And our President, Joe Biden, accepted all of our 70 proposals to make it less complicated for employees to manage.  And here’s the significance of that: It relates to federal staff, but the federal workforce is truly — the federal government is biggest employer in the nation.  And so, when you believe about it, as we adopt the suggestions to make it easier for federal personnel to organize, you will level to all of that to say, “If it can happen there, it can materialize here.”  (Applause.)
And there is far more to do.
So, we are searching at the reality that the President and I are established to guide not only the most pro-union administration in American heritage but to transfer our place forward. 
We are decided to battle for a upcoming where a teacher’s wage can provide for a family members.  (Applause.)  Mainly because I know it is however the case that some of you are doing the job two positions.  (Applause.)  Some probably even three.  I know that. 
We are identified to struggle for a foreseeable future where by you by no means once more have to shell out your possess dollars on school materials to meet your students’ requires.  (Applause.)
We will struggle for a upcoming where by teachers can educate our youngsters with the means, with the security, and the respect that you should have.  (Applause.)
Due to the fact we are apparent: When we do that, we can be certain that just about every youngster can achieve their God-offered potential.  (Applause.)
So, these are the values that our administration stands for.  And I imagine, when it will come down to it, it’s essentially this: When you know what you stand for, you know what to struggle for.  (Applause.)
And so substantially of what we just acquired as a result of conversing about is what extremist so-referred to as “leaders” stand towards. 
Given that our administration has commenced, not one Republican chief in Washington voted to rescue our nation in the middle of a pandemic, like when we proposed assets for our little ones and our educators. 
Not one particular Republican chief in Washington, D.C., voted to increase the Baby Tax Credit rating, which will help the poorest college students and their people.
Alternatively, these extremist so-named “leaders” fought from increasing your fork out. 
Rather, these extremist so-identified as “leaders” refuse to continue to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of our lecture rooms and experimented with to silence your voice through your union.
And as a substitute, these so-called “leaders” have tried using to make you pawns of their political agenda. 
For the reason that although you do the job challenging to inspire the goals and ambitions of our following technology, they dare concern your devotion, your determination, and your benefit. 
Even though you function really hard — (applause) — although you work hard to instruct the concepts of liberty and freedom in your classroom, these so-called “leaders” are having freedoms absent — (applause): flexibility absent from women and the flexibility to make conclusions more than their own bodies — (applause) liberty away from a kindergarten-to-third-grade trainer in Florida to really like openly and with pride — (applause) and absent from each individual American as they deliberately try to make it more hard for people to vote.  (Applause.)
We are 126 times absent from an election, and we all know what we need to do.  (Applause.)  And, you know, I also consider — I’m speaking to a team of educators — I also imagine that these extremist so-known as “leaders” want to show up at a civics lesson.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.) 
I assume — I essentially assume it would benefit us all if they sat in your classroom for a number of times to don’t forget how a democracy will work — (applause) to remember what freedoms stands for and to bear in mind what positions they were elected to do.  (Applause.)
All that to say that, as educators, you know, we all know that record has in no way been an unbroken line toward progress that even when we have advances, there will be setbacks.  In selected moments, those setbacks becoming additional drastic than in many others. This is a person of individuals moments, but we will not be deterred. 
The President and I are counting on you to enable us transfer ahead as a country, just as NEA has completed all over its background.  Since I bear in mind that this firm fought to reduced the voting age to 18.  (Applause.)  I recall that this business fought to protect Black instructors from college districts that defied desegregation orders.  (Applause.)  I remember that this was the organization that stood with other individuals to struggle to pass DACA and assure undocumented people today can understand in our communities.  (Applause.)
Again and once again, you have been champions of social justice.  And it is clear: Educators are a central component, then, of moving our country forward.  You are not only critical to our children’s potential.  I’m listed here to share with you: You, I imagine, are critical to the long term of our democracy.  (Applause.)
So, we will do this function with each other because, NEA, when we glimpse at wherever we are, we know that NEA has usually been a strong force — a powerful force whose members comprehend the electric power of unity. 
So, these might be complicated periods.  And I know that at the close of this convening, you will each go back to your household district you will go back again and you will commit lengthy evenings and evenings getting ready for the upcoming day you will go back again and normally be in a circumstance where it feels form of like you could be the only 1 who sees what you’re seeing and understands what is at stake.  (Applause.)
But let’s recall times like this.  And permit us keep in mind that the combat toward progress by its extremely nature is not linear. We’re likely to have our ups we’re likely to have our downs.
Let us remember — I like to paraphrase all the time what Coretta Scott King claimed.  She mentioned: The fight for justice, the struggle for civil legal rights, the struggle for independence, the combat for equality have to be fought and gained with just about every generation.  And I feel when she stated that, she had two details in brain.  A person is that it is the really nature of what we stand for and, hence, battle for that regardless of what gains we make will not be long term.
There is so substantially strength in what we attain, but there is also fragility.  So, we need to be vigilant.  And the next level then currently being: If we comprehend that’s the mother nature of it — it is not likely to be everlasting it is fragile, unless we are vigilant — it’s the character of it, so do not despair.  Do not be overwhelmed.  Do not toss up our hands when it is a time to roll up our sleeves.  (Applause.)
Thank you, NEA.  God bless you.  God bless our education and learning.  And God bless the United States of The us.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)
                         Stop                 5:38 P.M. CDT