In 1921, a representative of the National Education Association called for the designation of a weeklong observance that would recognize the significance of public schools and educators.
The NEA and the American Legion called for the initiative due to the concern about illiteracy among World War I draftees.
In December of that year, the NEA and the American Legion co-sponsored the first observance of American Education Week.
Today, American Education Week is celebrated annually during the week prior to Thanksgiving. The observance recognizes “public education and honors individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education,” according to the NEA website.
The theme of this year’s observance, which started Monday and ends Friday, is “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.”
In his proclamation, President Barack Obama wrote:
“Empowering students of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs to challenge themselves to reach higher education can lift up a generation, allowing them to carry the torch of progress forward and make our world a better place.
“This week, let us recommit to the important work that remains and ensure every student in America can access the support, resources and opportunities they need to thrive.”
The NEA suggested daily themes throughout the week to help schools and educators acknowledge the observance.
•Monday-Kickoff Day: The event presented all Americans with the opportunity to celebrate public education.
•Tuesday-Parents Day: Schools were encouraged to invite parents into the classroom for hands-on experience of what the day is like for their child.
•Wednesday-Education Support Professionals Day: Schools were encouraged to recognize support professionals who make up 40 percent of school employees nationwide.
•Today-Educator Day: Community leaders across the country are invited to serve as educators in their local public school district to get a glimpse of a day in the life of a school employee.
•Friday-Substitute Educators Day: Schools are encouraged to recognize substitute teachers who are called upon to replace regularly employed teachers.
Several Fort Meade schools are celebrating American Education Week with activities and events for both students and parents.
•Manor View Elementary School conducted several parent information sessions earlier in the week that included inviting parents to have lunch with their child and sponsoring an introductory Mandarin Chinese class for parents.
Manor View is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school and offers Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language for its IB students.
On Friday, the school will host a science assembly.
•MacArthur Middle School offered a series of morning activities for students focusing on kindness and bullying, college and career readiness, and literacy.
•Meade Middle School is hosting Parent Involvement Day today to provide information on topics ranging from Common Core math requirements, preparing for college, and the social and emotional development of children.