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President-elect Obama's school modernization plan is a win-win for economy, students

Communities welcome infusion of funds for much-needed school infrastructure upgrades

WASHINGTON - December 08, 2008 -

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday announced "the most sweeping effort to modernize and upgrade school buildings this country has ever seen..." as part of his Wall Street to Main Street economic recovery plan, which will repair broken schools, make them energy efficient and put new computers in classrooms across the country to make children more competitive in a 21st century, global economy.

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

"Educators, school districts and communities across the country enthusiastically welcome the ambitious and timely school modernization and greening plan announced by President-elect Obama over the weekend.

"School modernization and greening enhances student learning, stimulates the economy, creates jobs, and injects revenue into state and local coffers.  It also addresses overcrowding, safety and environmental concerns due to aging structures; creates an environment more conducive to teaching and learning; and helps meet the demands of modern technology.

"Educators have been sounding the alarm for years about the state of our schools. Today, children go to public schools built, on average, almost 50 years ago. They enter overcrowded buildings with leaky roofs, faulty electrical systems, and outdated technology. In some cases, classes take place in one of the more than 220,000 portable classrooms in use by public school systems in the United States.

"In a time of crisis, like now, we must act boldly. President-elect Obama clearly understands that all roads to economic security and prosperity go through our public schools. Public investments in the nation's infrastructure-and especially our public schools-provide immediate, short-term economic stimulus and build the foundation for long-term economic growth. These investments have shown to have a significant, and welcome, ripple effect on state and local economies."

For additional information about the economic troubles felt in America's public schools, please read the press release and congressional testimony of NEA President Dennis Van Roekel from October 29, 2008, when he testified before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on economic recovery.

For additional information, please visit  Economic troubles felt in halls across America's public schools

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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 Gonzalez   (202) 822-7823