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NEA applauds Speaker Pelosi for taking historic step

House to vote on education jobs bill on Tuesday

WASHINGTON - August 09, 2010 -

The National Education Association (NEA) and its 3.2 million members applaud Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for her decision to call the members of the House of Representatives back to Washington, D.C., to vote on critical funding for public sector jobs and extended federal support of FMAP.

The House has already voted twice on legislation that would save 140,000 education jobs as well as those of first responders such as firefighters. Passage of this Senate-approved bill (H.R. 1586) will benefit students by ensuring that class sizes do not skyrocket and that critical programs are not cut.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“The Speaker's decision to call lawmakers back to work demonstrates her commitment not only to putting American workers back to work but also to making sure that children do not bear the brunt of our nation’s economic woes.  Getting educators back into schools and classrooms is right for students, right for communities, and right for our future.  Without this bill, students would be facing  class sizes of 35 and 40 students, cuts to courses they need to graduate, and less instruction time.

"In addition, the Medicaid assistance to states that is embedded in this bill will fulfill our important obligation to ensure that low-income Americans have access to basic healthcare.  Providing Medicaid assistance to states also means that other dedicated public servants—firefighters and police, for example—will be able to stay on the job and work to keep our communities safe.

"Some critics of this legislation first complained that it wasn't paid for. That is not true. This legislation is fully paid for, and the Congressional Budget Office analysis shows it actually will reduce the deficit over the next decade. Others claimed that this legislation will benefit ’special interests.’  Since when did the needs of our nation's students, the health of low-income Americans, and the safety of our communities become special interests?  There are no more excuses. We urge swift passage of this essential legislation. The bottom line is that we need to keep schools open, educators working and students learning.”

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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.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman (202) 316-3980,