Letter to Chairman Miller Thanking him for Introducing the Local Jobs for America Act
March 18, 2010
Dear Chairman Miller:
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we thank you for your leadership in introducing the Local Jobs for America Act.
We are particularly pleased that the bill includes $23 billion for an Education Jobs Fund to create/save public sector jobs, including 250,000 education jobs. Although the House has already passed this funding as part of the Jobs for Main Street Act, your inclusion of it in your new bill sends a strong message about the need to see this assistance enacted into law immediately. In addition to the Education Jobs Fund, the bill would also make available as much as $15 billion directly to local governments to create/save education jobs.
As you know, saving and creating education jobs is a particularly effective way to jumpstart economic recovery, as it involves no wait time to draw up contracts or acquire materials. The type of assistance you propose has already played a key role in helping to keep middle class Americans working. Last month, Christina Romer, head of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, stated that fiscal relief to states under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been "one of the triumphs" and has had "more bite than we would have thought." This observation coming from the CEA Chair affirms the economic value to the nation of this aid and reinforces the need to continue such assistance.
Funding to create and save education jobs will help put more faculty into higher education classrooms, including those at community colleges (where enrollments have increased as much as 40-50 percent,) so that students can get the education they need to get back to work. It will also help keep schools fully staffed with pre-k through post-secondary 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. A January 2010 report from the bipartisan First Focus Campaign for Children found that 1 in 7 children are living with an unemployed parent, nearly a doubling of children in just over two years.
Again, we thank you for your leadership and look forward to continuing to work with you on these urgent issues.
Director of Government Relations