Letter to the full House Supporting the Jobs for Main Street Act
December 16, 2009
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we strongly urge you to VOTE YES on passage of the Jobs for Main Street Act, scheduled for floor consideration today. This legislation includes critical education funding that will save and create jobs that help students achieve, run our schools, and strengthen the middle class. Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Program for the 111th Congress.
State budget outlooks for 2010 and 2011 look bleak, with shortfalls predicted to be as high as $180 billion to $190 billion each year; local budget shortfalls are predicated to be as high as $40 billion each year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. These shortfalls, if left unaddressed, could have a devastating impact on schools, students and educators just one year after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) helped save or create 325,000 education jobs.
The Jobs for Main Street Act would help address this continuing crisis, including by:
- Creating a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund that will help states support an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years. This will have an immediate impact, as saving an education job involves no wait time to draw up contracts or acquire materials. It will also help keep schools fully staffed with teachers and education support professionals at a time when many students are experiencing great stress. A recent University of California study found that children in families where the head of the household had lost a job were 15 percent more likely to repeat a grade.
- Providing over $4 billion for school construction, renovation and modernization. Specifically, it will modify bonds created under ARRA to make them more attractive to school districts and investors, thereby creating greater opportunities to build, repair, and modernize schools, advance student achievement and generate construction related jobs in local communities in every state.
- Providing $300 million to support the College Work Study program, which supports low- and moderate-income students who work while attending college. Together with institutional matching funds, this funding will help approximately 250,000 students stay in school.
- Extending for six months the higher federal match for payments to doctors providing services to low-income families under Medicaid, thereby providing an incentive for states to commit resources to Medicaid while helping ensure services for beneficiaries.
The Jobs for Main Street Act will help stimulate economic recovery and funnel needed dollars quickly and efficiently into struggling communities. We urge your support for this important legislation
Director of Government Relations
Manager of Federal Advocacy