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Letter to the Full Congress on Education Jobs Fund Versus Race to the Top Funding

April 20, 2010

Dear Senator/Representative:

As you know, states are facing unprecedented fiscal crises, forcing layoffs of hundreds of thousands of public servants, including educators, and extensive cuts to essential education programs.  Our children’s future and the future strength of our nation are at stake.  Yet, at the same time, the Administration is proposing a dramatic shift away from a stable, consistent source of federal education funding toward an approach that will force states to compete on an uneven playing field for scarce resources.

The proposed shift away from formula grants and toward competitive grants is deeply troubling.  At this time of unprecedented fiscal crisis, the federal government should focus on being a reliable partner to states, rather than a casino that picks winners and losers.  States simply cannot afford federal policies that force them to gamble, and devote considerable resources, for only a chance to win badly needed federal help.

In contrast to the proposed competitive grant structure, funding already passed by the House of Representatives and proposed in the Senate by Senator Harkin, would provide stable, predictable funding to save education jobs and prevent program cuts.  The Education Jobs Fund would provide $23 billion to extend the very successful assistance provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s State Stabilization Fund.  And, unlike under Race to the Top, they would not have to divert scarce staff time and resources to draft grant proposals for a chance at these essential dollars.

All states want and need a reliable source of federal funding so that programs and services for kids are not cut.  The Education Jobs Fund offers such a source.  We urge the Senate to act quickly to pass the Keep Our Educators Working Act (S.3206) and ask that all Members of Congress speak out strongly in favor of such relief. 

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson 
Director of Government Relations