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NEA urges Senate to take swift action to save critical jobs

Package should include funding to strengthen education and improve nation’s infrastructure


WASHINGTON - February 17, 2010 -

Today marks the one year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Signed into law by President Obama, the Act is credited with creating and saving more than 300,000 education jobs, including those of teachers, custodians, nurses and bus drivers. Now, however, record-setting declines in revenue and the expiration of Recovery Act funds will make it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for states to maintain education funding at 2008 or 2009 levels—the result could be a significant loss of education jobs. The National Education Association is pushing for immediate approval of Senate legislation that would save middle-class education jobs and help continue the nation’s economic recovery. The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“We are grateful to President Obama and Congress for passing legislation last year to jumpstart the nation’s economy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved and created jobs that fueled local economies, strengthened public education and brought relief to countless middle-class families. Without the Recovery Act, many more middle-class workers would have lost their jobs. The Recovery Act allowed us to address long-neglected infrastructure issues and support critical reform efforts in our schools that will help our children receive the education they need to compete in the global economy of the 21st century.

“But the crisis is not over. The deep recession has left local and state governments facing unprecedented shrinking revenues as they develop FY2011 budgets and they will be forced to address historic shortfalls when funding under the Recovery Act expires. Deep cuts to public services, including education, will mean a loss of jobs at the very time Congress is focusing on creating new jobs. Just last week, the head of the Council of Economic Advisers called the fiscal relief to states ‘one of the triumphs’ of the Recovery Act, saying it had ‘more bite than we would have thought.’

“The U.S. House of Representatives has already passed jobs legislation that includes critical aid to states to avert layoffs of middle-class Americans who provide crucial public services like education. NEA is urging the Senate to take quick action on legislation that will maintain and create jobs that build America, help students achieve, keep school doors open and students fed. The need for passage of this legislation is critical and urgent.” 

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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: René Carter  (202) 822-7494, jrcarter@nea.org