This year, National Education Week will be observed from November 14 to 18. This annual holiday takes place in the U.S. during the week before Thanksgiving. It fosters national dialogue between parents, educators, and students on how best to revamp the education system felt more fervently than at any other time. Traditionally, its principal idea has been to remind us of the roots of American education. But the real reason we love it is because it inspires us during the academic year by celebrating the achievements of public schools and honoring those who have contributed to improving education in the U.S.
History of National Education Week
The idea of National Education Week was first proposed in 1919 at a meeting between representatives of the American Legion and the National Education Association (NEA). It was first observed in 1921, with the stipulated aim of addressing the shortcomings of the American education system that had given rise to a startlingly high rate of illiteracy in the country—nearly 6%!
Since then, the week preceding Thanksgiving has been earmarked as National Education Week to generate awareness, curiosity, and excitement for learning, while also celebrating the absolutely vital place education holds in our society. It also functions as a mechanism for public schools to secure funds to meet their needs.
Every year, The National Education Association (NEA) decides on an annual theme for National Education Week. For example, one theme is that “substitute educators play a vital role in the maintenance and continuity of daily education.” Also, each day of the week is assigned a different activity. On Monday, the Kick-off Day, students are introduced to the theme and activities planned for the Week. Tuesday is Family Day, when parents are invited to live a day in their children’s shoes, experiencing a school day from their point of view. Making parents empathetic to the learning process benefits students in their performance in the classroom. Wednesday is appointed Education Support Professionals Day and, as the name suggests, it recognizes the importance of support staff. Thursday’s activity, Educator for a Day, is particularly interesting. Community leaders are invited to teach students for a day, sharing their valuable knowledge and insights. Finally, Friday is Substitute Educators Day, which recognizes the invaluable assistance provided by educators who step in to fill in for regular teachers when needed.
National Education Week timeline
The King's School is established in England and becomes one of the world’s oldest schools.
America’s first public school, The English Classical School, opens in Boston with 101 male students.
Every state has a public school, but there are only about 500 in the entire country.
The first National Education Week is observed to help drive down the illiteracy rate.
National Education Week FAQs
How can I connect with others for National Education Week?
The NEA comprises a nationwide network of over three million stakeholders and their website should be your first port of call.
What was the main reason behind the first National Education Week?
The U.S.’s participation in the Great War revealed that about 25% of men drafted to serve were illiterate. This alarming figure prompted the NEA and the American Legion to join forces to launch a nationwide education campaign.
Which is the best school movie to watch?
Well, there are many candidates for the top spot, but our favorite is “To Sir, With Love.” The movie is based on E.R. Braithwaite’s novel and features a masterclass in acting by Sidney Poitier.
How to Observe National Education Week
Pitch in together
A potluck is a great way for parents, teachers, and students to meet and relax with one another. Sharing insights and experiences leads to greater cohesion in the community.
Serve the community
Why not switch roles and ask your cafeteria staff to get off their feet while students serve them for a change? Help support staff by mopping the floors, raking leaves, or cooking lunch.
Celebrate a peer/teacher
Do you know someone in your school who deserves to be commended for the role they play? Why not collaborate with your local daily to highlight their accomplishments in a profile feature?
5 Fascinating Facts About Education
The next time you think of complaining about having too much homework, just remember that children in China have 14 hours of homework every day, making them the world’s most studious population.
One on one learning
In 2014, an elementary school in Turin had only one student and one teacher.
Sharing the flame of knowledge
In Russian schools, after the morning assembly, high school seniors lead first graders to their classrooms by hand while ringing a ceremonial bell.
Power to the people
Rap music has been shown in studies to significantly improve students' cognitive ability to grasp and practice complex mathematical concepts.
In 2020, the City Montessori School in Lucknow reported a total enrollment of over 60,000 students.
Why National Education Week is Important
The key to the future
Education is the springboard to success for every child. By honoring those who enable a safe, respectful, and conducive learning environment, we remember to honor the very best members of our community.
Time to shine!
The many essay and elocution competitions are excellent ways to showcase your talent and gain recognition from your peers. Nothing motivates students more than positive feedback from their teachers.
Scope a scholarship
National Education Week is an excellent opportunity for students to learn about and apply for a variety of financial aid options. Scholarships are also available to help teachers afford quality higher education.
National Education Week dates