Teacher Appreciation Isn't Just Once a YearIt’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and parent volunteers at schools around the country are knocking themselves out to thank the professionals who educate our children. And while our teachers are pleased to receive Starbucks cards and be feted at school luncheons, nothing beats giving them the respect they deserve.

Teaching in 2012 is a difficult job made more so by candidates and elected officials who score political points by criticizing public education, stripping teachers unions of their rights to negotiate and pushing for privatization schemes with an eye toward dismantling America’s public education system.

National Education Association Vice President Lily Eskelsen is our guest on tomorrow’s MOMocrats MOMochat podcast.  Eskelsen,  an elementary teacher from Utah, is one of the highest-ranking labor leaders in the country and one of its most influential Hispanic educators (she’s an Obama appointee to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, whose goal is to expand education opportunities and improve education outcomes for Hispanic students.)

Eskelsen writes a blog, “Lily’s Blackboard,” covering the latest education issues. She has been featured on MSNBC and CNN en Espanol. And she has been the invited keynote speaker for hundreds of education events in virtually every state, earning her recognition by Education World in their “Best Conference Speakers” edition.

She believes that no matter how students arrive, and no matter what their learning conditions, their home conditions or their health conditions, that educators have the sacred duty to be professionals and to care for the whole child. And she believes that professionalism carries the responsibility to take action, individually and collectively, to fight to make the promise of public education a reality and to prepare every student to succeed.

We expect Ms. Eskelsen will have a lot to say about the right-wing’s Wars on Education, Working People and Women. We expect a lively discussion.  Listen live Wednesday at 9 AM Pacific/12 PM Eastern or download the podcast here.