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NEA president comments on Senate approval of economic recovery package

Welcomes Senate action, urges Congress to get final bill to president for signature

WASHINGTON - February 10, 2009 -

The U.S. Senate today approved the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a package aimed at providing funds to states, communities, and public schools around the country to cope with the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression. The measure moves to a Senate-House conference committee to iron out their differences.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“We thank the Senate for its work on this important recovery and investment legislation, coming on the heels of the worst unemployment news in decades. While the funds that remain in the package will take pressure off strained state budgets and put money back into our communities, we lament the fact that the bill significantly scales back funding from the original proposal for critical education programs and services, crucial aid to struggling states, and the nation’s public schools, some of which are more than 50 years old.

“We hope Congress acts quickly to find common ground, restore much needed funds for school modernization and states, and put together an economic recovery package as bold as the challenges facing Americans. Investing in the nation’s public schools and colleges will create jobs and go a long way toward providing students with 21st century learning environments and ensuring great public schools for all students.

“We look forward to working with the House and Senate in the coming days to ensure the best possible final package for our nation.”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez
(202) 822-7823,