Letter to the U.S. House on the economic stimulus package
January 12, 2009
As Congress considers plans for a comprehensive economic recovery package, the National Education Association (NEA) would like to offer a proposal for efficiently moving desperately needed resources to communities.
As educators, our members are witnessing the impacts of this crisis firsthand. For them, it is very personal as they see children coming to school hungry, parents of their students losing their jobs, and families in their communities struggling to survive. Every day, our members must face their own fears about the future and comfort their students who are feeling the pain of this recession.
NEA would like to offer a proposal that we believe offers an effective approach for infusing immediate resources into struggling communities -- direct federal assistance through state education funding formulas. Unlike investments in other industries, education funding reaches every community in the nation. Therefore, the impact of additional funding would be felt in every city, small town, and rural area. Because state formulas are designed to provide assistance to those areas most in need, additional funding would help save jobs in the very communities they are needed the most.
Direct federal relief for state education funding formulas not only helps education, but takes pressure off of state budgets, thereby preventing cuts in other areas. In addition, education funding has a ripple effect throughout the community. People whose jobs are saved can continue to spend in the community, supporting the local economy.
Because state funding formulas already exist, the money could be distributed quickly without having to create any new mechanisms. This funding would flow to states without federal mandates; funds would be distributed according to existing state formulas and with considerable local control of spending.
We have attached a one-pager explaining our proposal. In addition, we are currently in the process of posting on our website state-by-state analyses demonstrating the impact of direct federal assistance through state education formulas, including the number of jobs that would be preserved/created in education and other sectors.
We thank you for your consideration of our views on this very important issue.
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy.