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Obama signs American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel witnesses signing of landmark legislation

WASHINGTON - February 17, 2009 -

President Barack Obama today signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, landmark legislation to help struggling families, public schools and states around the country cope with the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression.

President Obama pledged to make education a top priority in his administration, noting as much during his historic inaugural address. He successfully urged Congress to make the largest investment of federal funds in public education in history, aiming to transform public schools for the 21st century.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel attended the historic bill signing ceremony representing the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association. Van Roekel has advocated on behalf of the views and concerns of educators and their families—teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, retired educators and others—who continue to witness firsthand the impact of the worst economic news in generations. 

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

“Today, with the stroke of a pen, President Barack Obama took a bold and necessary step to return the nation to more solid economic footing, delivering on a promise to make education a national priority and, at the same time, affirming that the road to economic recovery runs through the nation’s classrooms.

“I am proud to witness this historic legislative victory for the American people and the future of the nation’s children. The economic recovery legislation Obama signed into law is as bold as the challenges facing millions of Americans. In the short-run, the law will slow the economic slide, and in the long-run, strengthen our economy and invest in America’s future.

“His action will put millions of Americans back at work, keep thousands of schools and libraries open, and help educators hold on to their jobs. It will also modernize schools and labs to provide students with 21st century learning environments, and school districts across the country will receive additional resources to help millions of children, especially low-income and children with special needs.

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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,