1957 3¢ National Education Association
Issue Date: July 1, 1957
City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Color: Rose lake
U.S. #1093 was issued in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the site where National Education Association was founded 100 years earlier.
Lay Foundation for Nationwide Union
Prior to the 1850s, public schools were still a relatively new concept, as most were privately run. But by the mid-1850s, public schools were starting to rival private academies in number. Schoolteachers had formed associations in 15 of the 31 states, but there was no national body to coordinate their interests.
A New York educator took the first steps toward building a national organization. Thomas W. Valentine, principal of a large public school in Brooklyn, had been active in organizing teachers on a state level. He was the president of the New York Teachers Association. Valentine issued “The Call” to build a national coalition. He wrote, “We cordially extend this invitation to all practical teachers in the North, the South, the East, and the West, who...believe the time has come when the teachers of the nation should gather into one great educational brotherhood.”
In response, 43 educators gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1857. The result was the birth of the National Teachers Association (NTA). Two women who attended the convention were made honorary members and allowed to sign the constitution. However, women were barred from joining until 1866.
In 1870, the NTA changed its name to the National Education Association. On the 150th anniversary of Valentine’s call, membership had grown to over 3.2 million.