CEA member, Greenwich Education Association member, and National Teacher of the Year Anthony Mullen, was recognized today at the NEA RA. CEA delegates were proud to see one of their own in the spotlight.
After 21 years as a New York City police officer, Anthony Mullen decided to “exchange a pair of handcuffs for a set of textbooks,” and for that his students, so many of them inspired to graduate by this Connecticut teacher, can be thankful.
Mullen, who won the National Teacher of the Year award from President Barack Obama this year, told the Representative Assembly today that “the ability to graduate from high school is a fundamental right.”
Every 30 seconds, another student drops out of school, Mullen told the delegates. That’s more than 1 million a year — including a disproportionate number of poor and minority students. “Shouldn’t these shocking statistics be treated as a national crisis rather than a postscript to a failed education?” he asked.
The answer: Yes, of course! The dropout crisis is a chief priority of the NEA. (Learn more about NEA’s efforts to increase graduation rates.)
Mullen became a teacher — joining the faculty of the ARCH School, an alternative education branch of Greenwich High School — so that he could make a real difference in the lives of young adults, he said. And that’s exactly what he does, said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Tony proves that with passion, perseverance, and professionalism, all of us have the power to make a difference.”
Take, for example, the 16-year-old mother, abandoned by her father, placed in foster care by her mother. “She’s combative, rude and vulgar, the type of person who does not believe the meek will inherit the Earth,” Mullen said. But she’s also a lonely, frightened teenager — and Mullen sees that person and believes in her.
“Every day I’m given a chance to save one child at a time and prevent another dropout,” Mullen told delegates. “These are the riches we are given as teachers and educators.”
Click “read more…” below to see 4th of July photos from the CEA delegation.