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NEA Urges Action on Jobs


Saving and creating education jobs can help jumpstart the economy, says Van Roekel


by Tim Walker
As a second snowstorm crippled the Washington D.C. area, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid acknowledged on Thursday that the Senate was unlikely to vote on a new jobs package before the President’s Day recess.

Nonetheless, Reid said, the Senate will continue to move forward with this important bill. President Obama, who has made jobs a top priority in this election year, has asked Congress to pass fresh measures to boost hiring across the country.

On Thursday, the White House submitted its annual economic report to Congress. The report forecasts sluggish job growth throughout 2010 and 2011.

"Until jobs are being created to replace those we've lost -- until America is back at work,” President Obama said today. “My administration will not rest and this recovery will not be finished.”

The National Education Association is urging the Senate to pass a bill similar to the Jobs for Main Street Act, which was approved by the House of Representatives in December. That bill includes an Education Jobs Fund that will help states retain or create an estimated 250,000 education jobs over the next two years and funds for school construction, renovation and modernization.

Saving and creating education jobs is a particularly effective way to jumpstart the economy. Additional federal money for public education will have an immediate impact on improving the employment picture in recession-worn communities. Without it, state legislatures will be looking at historic budget deficits, likely leading to widespread layoffs in public service jobs and undermining the nation’s economic recovery.

“Laying off educators is a sure path to stunting innovation and impeding America’s prosperity,” said NEA President Van Roekel. “And we hope that the jobs bill will include additional funding to help rebuild and restore the nation’s crumbling public school buildings.”

Thanks to letter-writing campaigns, cyberlobbying and face-to-face lobbying, NEA affiliates and members across the nation were instrumental in persuading members of the House to pass the Jobs for Main Street Act, and they are now turning their attention to the Senate.

Key to this effort will be touting the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – the economic stimulus bill passed by Congress one year ago this month. Even the staunchest supporters of the stimulus concede that the misinformation campaign surrounding the bill’s effectiveness has been largely successful. While Republicans in Congress have continually dismissed it as wasteful spending, the stimulus has helped curtail the effects of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The impact of ARRA on the nation’s schools education has been especially significant. According to the Department of Education, ARRA has saved approximately 325,000 education jobs.

Despite this progress, said Van Roekel, Congress must now help strengthen the economic recovery.

“The need for a dramatic plan to create more jobs and put more Americans back to work has never been more urgent."


RELATED LINKS

NEA Today Action: Education Jobs

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will be saved/created in your state.

See how much funding states will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.


TAKE ACTION

Tell the Senate to Support Education Funding in Jobs Package!