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‘Keep Our Educators Working Act’ gains momentum as Sen. Cardin gives his support

Timely bill would prevent larger class sizes, deep cuts to education programs

WASHINGTON - April 29, 2010 -

An education jobs bill that could prevent larger class sizes, deep cuts to education programs, and massive educator layoffs as a result of the worst economic crisis in generations received the strong endorsement of Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.).  The “Keep our Educators Working Act of 2010” (S. 3206), introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) earlier this month, would inject much-needed funds into states’ coffers to stave off the states' economic crisis. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar bill in December.

“The National Education Association commends Senator Cardin for stepping up to bat for students by lending his support of the Keep Our Educators Working Act,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Balancing budgets should never happen on the backs of students and public schools. Senator Cardin knows that parents—like educators—don’t want their children to lose their music or arts programs, or see 35 or 45 students in the classroom. They don’t want their kids to walk across town because of fewer bus routes and drivers. They don’t want a shorter school week. They want a great public school for their child.”

Many states are still putting together budgets for the next fiscal year, but NEA anticipates “funding cliffs” that could negatively impact public school employees and their ability to provide all students with a world-class education. NEA is now projecting more than 150,000 educator layoffs in the next three months, which would affect millions of public school children. As a result, school districts across the country have announced increases in student fees to make up for lost revenues.  Some districts have moved to four-day school weeks or cutting programs while others have implemented mandatory furloughs to avoid closing schools.

Cardin joins 20 co-sponsors of the “Keep Our Educators Working Act,” including fellow Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D). The legislation also has garnered broad-based coalition support from the nation’s 45 leading education organizations in addition to the official endorsement of 20 other co-sponsors, which includes Sens. Mark Begich (D-Ark.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Roland Burris (D-Ill.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

“We can’t ask schoolchildren to tighten their belts and accept a substandard education because of the tough economy,” added Van Roekel. “As school comes to a close, hundreds of thousands of students don’t know if their favorite teacher, or nurse, or bus driver will be there when school opens in the fall—if it opens it all. By supporting the Keep Our Educators Working Act, our elected officials are doing what’s right for our students.”

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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: Staci Maiers  (202) 822-7823,