Laid-off Illinois educator urges Congress to fund education jobs
NEA members from N.C., Ill., Ind. and Calif. take their stories to Capitol Hill
WASHINGTON - June 24, 2010 -
As Congress continues to grapple with the emergency supplemental funding bill, Angie Hallock, a high school teacher from Elgin, Ill., joins National Education Association (NEA) members from North Carolina, Indiana and California—who have all received pink slips—to urge their members of Congress to pass the “Education Jobs Fund.” Without this infusion of money to state education budgets, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan estimates up to 300,000 educators across the nation could lose their jobs.
“The nation’s economic crisis has pushed public education to a tipping point, but there is still a chance to stave off more damage,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Congress can choose to put students first by supporting emergency education job funding that will keep teachers and other essential personnel and programs in our schools. All students deserve the highest quality education, and their education shouldn’t be diminished because we lack the political will to act. Every parent, community member and elected official needs to understand the real consequences of this funding crisis.”
Angie Hallock was told in February that her contract would not be renewed. She shared her story today with Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Reps. Mike Quigley and Bill Foster and told them that hundreds of educators in her district alone are losing their jobs.
“Class size will rise dramatically,” said Hallock. “With the layoffs in my district, we expect class size to go up to 38 kids per class—and that’s before new students register for the fall.
“In District U-46, we have nearly 800 educators being laid off. With so many of us looking for teaching jobs, plus the college grads who just completed their teacher preparation programs, the job market for teachers is impossible. I am worried that the new teacher candidates will get discouraged from pursuing this profession. Not only do we need the skills and expertise of veteran teachers like me, but we also need the fresh new ideas and stamina that the new teachers bring to the classroom."
School budgets across the country have been cut to the bone, forcing massive layoffs of teachers and education support professionals. Some districts are moving to four-day school weeks, cutting critical services and programs for kids, or even closing schools. These layoffs and cuts are coming at the same time that schools are facing rising demands for better academic outcomes.
“We are closing in quickly on the end of the fiscal year, and it’s incomprehensible that our children are being forced to bear the brunt of the nation’s economic woes,” said Van Roekel. “Enough is enough. The time to speak up for education and kids is now.”
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee 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.
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