“Public education is the basis of citizenship and is of primary importance to the welfare of the Nation.”

With those words, President Warren G. Harding introduced the very first American Education Week in December of 1921.

President Harding exhorted Americans everywhere to “give special and thoughtful attention to the needs and aims of the public schools.” What President Harding said then is still applicable today:  If America is to remain strong, vibrant, and the leader of the free world, it will be because America values and supports great public schools in every community across this nation.

In 1921, there was great concern that the soldiers we had sent to fight WWI were returning home without some essential skills. It is estimated that 25% of WWI draftees were unable read and write and 9% were physically unfit.

Representatives of the National Education Association and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek a solution to this vexing problem, and American Education Week was born. Both groups realized that if we were to fulfill our promise as a nation, education would have to play a key role. And that is a fact that rings as true today as it did in 1921.

This year, American Education Week runs from November 15-19, and provides an excellent opportunity for communities across North Dakota to appreciate teachers and celebrate the vital work and service they provide to the children and young people of North Dakota.

As president of North Dakota United, I want you to know that we appreciate your dedication and service Each. And. Every. Day! We know how hard you work. We know how much you care. We know the love you feel for your students.

Most importantly, we know the positive impact you have on the lives of children and their families. This state would be unrecognizable without you and your excellent work. For that and myriad reasons, North Dakota United is honored by your membership in our organization and proud of each of you.

At ND United, we are working every day to ensure that your voice is in the room when decisions are made that affect your work and your future. We ensure your workplace rights when things go wrong. We provide outstanding professional development based not on what we think you would like, but on topics that you have chosen via our yearly professional development survey.

We share your stories with the public and consider you to be Everyday Heroes.

From all of us at North Dakota United, thank you for your excellent work, thank you for your unwavering commitment to children, and thank you for your membership in ND United.

Here’s to an incredibly happy and healthy American Education Week!