NEA honors Senator Tammy Baldwin with a Human and Civil Rights Award

Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin was honored Saturday at the NEA Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly with a prestigious NEA Human and Civil Rights Award. Specifically, Baldwin won the Mary Hatwood Futrell Award, and was honored as “a champion for women and girls.”

Baldwin was nominated for the award by the WEAC Human and Civil Rights Committee.

“Wisconsin educators honor Senator Baldwin for uniting to create a better state, nation and world,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “Together, we share the knowledge that education and opportunity for every child is the key to overcoming violence and oppression. Senator Baldwin is a product of Wisconsin Public Schools, and never forgets that public education is the cornerstone of democracy.”

In selecting Baldwin for the award, the NEA provided this testimonial to her:

Tammy Baldwin shattered Wisconsin’s political glass ceiling in 1998 and became the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives from Wisconsin. Fourteen years later, she became the first woman elected to United States Senate from the state. The gender barrier was not the only one she broke—Baldwin was also the first openly gay woman in history to be elected and to serve first to the United States House of Representatives and then to the United States Senate.

Senator Baldwin has long been a champion for women and girls. She has moved legislation such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Violence Against Women Act, Healthy Media for Youth Act and sponsored the reauthorization of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Act. When she was in the Wisconsin state legislature, she pushed for increased funding and programs in schools to increase STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) educational opportunities for girls and young women.

Senator Baldwin fights for fairness, equality and opportunity because she believes that with each passing year and each generation, our country must become more equal – not less. Achieving that goal requires a firm foundation built on access to high-quality public education for all students and an end to poverty.

Senator Baldwin has made student and educator centered reforms a centerpiece of her efforts. She played a pivotal role in shaping the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), which reduced testing burdens, provides more opportunity to lift educator voice, improved technology in the classroom and strengthened career and technical education. She tirelessly worked to advance policies like the Supporting Making Assessments Reliable and Timely (SMART) Act (2015) and the Enhancing Education Through Technology Act and the Career Ready Act (2015).

Senator Baldwin has always believed a student’s dreams should not be limited by their gender, sexual orientation, where they live, how they learn or how much money their parents earn. In 2016, she co- authored The Stronger Way Act with Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) to help low income families and people with children, below the poverty line, by increasing the value of tax credits that currently favor higher wage workers. One key feature of the Stronger Way Act would allow a single working mother with two children and living below the poverty line to earn a tax credit increase of more than $2,200.

Baldwin’s signature piece of legislation is The RED Act (2016) a bold vision to address college affordability and put generations of Americans on the path toward debt-free college. The act allows for students to refinance their current student debt, and it gives more students access to Pell Grants, including community college students. Senator Baldwin is a champion for womens’ rights and education.