Between New York’s new schools chancellor Cathie Black, a Colbert Report appearance by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, and the film Waiting for Superman, public school education is a hot topic.

Today we spoke with the National Education Association‘s PR manager Steve Grant, who says many of the organization’s 3.2 million members are “upset” by the backlash against them. The NEA is an advocacy group for educators, whose stated mission is to “fulfill the promise of public education to prepare every student to succeed in a diverse and interdependent world.”

Grant says NEA members “feel quite frankly they’ve been bashed or vilified as the problem” with public education. He also talks about the importance of PR for advocacy work at a time when “public opinion is becoming more important” and “can create a groundswell of support” for issues in Congress.

Grant also serves as a PRSA board member, who just published a column on the organization’s site about advocacy. Click below for his conversation with PRNewser.