The National Education Assn. and the American Legion joined together more than 70 years ago to create American Education Week.
Concerned that 25 percent of the country's World War I draftees were illiterate, representatives of the NEA and the American Legion met in 1919 to seek ways to generate public support for education. Both organizations decided that a national effort was needed.
In 1921, the NEA Representative Assembly called for the designation of one week each year to spotlight education. The first observance occurred Dec. 4-10, 1921, with the NEA and the American Legion as co-sponsors.
Today, the sponsors of the week are the U.S. Department of Education and 11 national organizations, including the NEA, the American Legion, the National PTA, and the American Association of School Administrators.
American Education Week is always the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving.