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Federal Legislative Update September 2011

September 30, 2011
September 23, 2011
September 16, 2011
September 9, 2011

9/30/11

CHECK OUT THESE ADS: WILL POLITICIANS PROTECT STUDENTS OR CEO’S?


The NEA is up on air running television ads in Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia to encourage public education supporters to contact Congress and urge them to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. And as proof that what happens in Washington, DC also happens in the states, the Michigan Education Association is on air as well with this clever ad to encourage folks to stand up for kids, not CEO’s.

To prevent more budget-cutting damage to our education system, we need to influence the “Super Committee,” which is charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in additional federal cuts and/or revenues by Thanksgiving. If the Super Committee cannot reach agreement, or Congress fails to approve their recommendations by the end of the year, at least $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect. See the members and learn more about the Super Committee.

Take Action Today: Tell Congress that the super-committee must help create jobs, protect working families and those with the greatest needs, honor our retirees, and ensure that those most able to do so pay their fair share.


YOUR STORIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE! KEEP TELLING CONGRESS TO PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK AND KEEP STUDENTS LEARNING!


With every day that Congress fails to act, we receive more stories from educators and public education supporters across the country. The stories here underscore the need to keep up the fight to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act.

California – Our math and language arts books are old and do not meet the standards; we have a shortage of supplies; special education students are in the regular classroom with, in many cases no extra support; and I will soon have 37 students in my classroom.

Wisconsin – We have a great school with wonderful teachers, support staff, students, and families. However, we will probably be losing more paraprofessionals and we are already stretched to the limit..Then today, the engineer said there was no heat because the boilers are not ready to run and he doesn't know when the district will have them ready..so I tested students with their coats on or a blanket around them. Our students and staff DESERVE more than this.

Pennsylvania – I have seen class sizes increase within our district and special enrichment programs eliminated. Art and library are no longer offered to our elementary students..Where is the love for the arts to be nurtured and cultivated? How are our students to get a love of books? After-school tutoring has been eliminated and students who need our help have to do without! Our one kindergarten class has 26 students..These students are not getting the high quality education they deserve! At the high school, class sizes have also increased.

Ohio -- I have taught middle school for 24 years. In that time I have watched our building physically deteriorate before my eyes. The roof leaks, which leaves stains on the ceilings and on the floors. Often the heating doesn't work. Two years ago, I taught in my classroom during the month of December with no heat..Teachers work with antiquated screens and computer equipment. I had to buy my own laptop for work two years ago because the computer for my room was so old it would not take flash drives or run Power Point presentations. I am still expected to show films in my classroom using a VCR that does not always work. The walls have no insulation. The windows are single-pane glass with no screens. The middle school used to offer four foreign languages; now they are all gone. Keyboarding and industrial arts have also been cut..Gone too are any sort of field trips. I'm worried that our paper for the copier will run out, and I will have to start using my own money for copies..Yet call me crazy, I really do love what I do. It just makes me despondent at times when I see a lack of community support for what I and my colleagues do on a daily basis.

It is shameful to hear such stories in this country. We are sending our children a message that they do not matter and are not a priority for the nation. Saving educator jobs and modernizing schools are investments in our children and our future. When educators are hired, students win -- they receive more individual attention, more help from counselors, more after-school help, and more opportunities to succeed.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell Congress to put Americans back to work and ensure our children the education they deserve by supporting the President’s American Jobs Act.

  • Share your story -- Keep the stories coming. We know that budget cuts are happening in schools across the country, but we need your help to gauge the impact these cuts are having on your schools and students. Has your school moved to a four day school week, cut after-school programs, or dropped foreign languages? Is your school in need of maintenance or supplies? Let us know how budget woes are affecting your school. We are using your stories to help put pressure on Members of Congress to do the right thing and focus on creating a great public school for every student.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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Representative John Larson (D-CT), who introduced the President’s complete American Jobs Act as legislation in the House of Representatives.

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Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), who are circulating a sign-on letter that will go to the Super Committee against repealing or scaling back the health care tax exclusion. NEA has long opposed taxation of health care benefits – which would seriously undermine employer-sponsored health insurance and harm the middle class.

Jeers to:

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who at the latest Republican debate claimed that “Smaller classes do not make a better education” and asserted that, “All the talk about we need smaller classroom size, that’s promoted by the teachers unions to hire more teachers.”

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Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney who both indicated yesterday that they would sign a national “right to work” law. As if the attacks on educators’ rights in the states aren’t enough, we now definitively know that Perry and Romney would support stripping workers of their fundamental right to have a voice in their workplace.

 

9/23/2011

TELL CONGRESS TO PASS THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT – TO PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK AND KEEP STUDENTS LEARNING!


The fight continues to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which would invest billions of dollars to save educator jobs and repair and modernize school facilities. This week, several NEA members who have lost their jobs traveled to Washington, DC to share their stories with Congress and urge passage of the President’s bill. Read about their visits. The need is great and the stories from these members and others across the country about the impact on our students are heartbreaking. The following excerpts submitted by NEA activists through our Education Votes website are only a small sampling of the struggles taking place in every community:

Wisconsin -- Our school district was forced to reduce graduation requirements and cap the number of credits students can take in high school. We used to require four credits of all core academic subjects at the high school level. Now all have been cut to three except English. Every student was forced to cut one class out of their schedule and in place we have created huge study halls with hundreds of students or given them releases to leave school instead of staying in classes.

New Mexico -- The classroom I was assigned to was a total disaster. The small office’s ceiling was missing most of its ceiling tiles. The floor was flooded out into the main classroom. There was mold and mildew climbing up the few pieces of furniture remaining in the office, the desk’s chair was coated with similar damage and so was the wooden office door. I had a hard time breathing in that room. How can I be expected to teach five science classes, while providing relevant lab work, if I cannot even give my students a healthy classroom to learn in? How can I ensure an equitable and rigorous education for all of my students if I have to fight for every piece of equipment and supplies?

Washington -- I work at a Title I school where close to 100% of our students qualify for free and reduced lunches. Both art and music have been cut from our school, technology assistance has been cut from our district in a major way, and now our counselor is only with us two days a week. Most of our students could use a counselor/psychologist session daily with all that they are dealing with at home, but now that support is not there. This makes it incredibly difficult for them to learn and stay focused. Please fund education, it is our future!

Oregon -- Our school district had to cut our custodial staff down to the point that my classroom's trash cans are emptied only every other day. When my students come into my classroom on the second day, the trash is already full and smelly (our air conditioner is also broken, and the temperature last week hit 95 degrees). This sends a clear message to students: they aren't valued enough..When we have the support staff we need in our building and school district, kids come into a room that is welcoming and inviting rather than unpleasant and stinky. Kids don't learn as well as they could when they are distracted by bad smells and temperatures that are too high.

Saving educator jobs and modernizing schools are investments in our children and our future. When educators are hired, students win -- they receive more individual attention, more help from counselors, more after-school help, and more opportunities to succeed. America’s students shouldn’t bear the brunt of our country’s economic crisis. They deserve manageable class-sizes and modernized and energy-efficient school buildings.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell Congress to put Americans back to work and ensure our children the education they deserve by supporting the President’s American Jobs Act.
  • Share your story -- We know that budget cuts are happening in schools across the country, but we need your help to gauge the impact these cuts are having on your schools and students. Has your school moved to a four day school week, cut after-school programs, or dropped foreign languages? Is your school in need of maintenance or supplies? Let us know how budget woes are affecting your school. We’ll use your stories to help put pressure on Members of Congress to do the right thing and focus on creating a great public school for every student.

REMEMBER: JOIN THE EDUCATION NATION TOWNHALL THIS SUNDAY!


This Sunday, September 25, NBC News will convene the largest gathering of teachers from across the country for the second-annual nationally televised "Teacher Town Hall." This special event will broadcast live on MSNBC at Noon/ET. The program-for and about teachers- will focus on the most important challenges and opportunities facing America's teachers, and feature examples of great teaching from various schools and classrooms across the country.

As hundreds of teachers get together in-person at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, NBC news is also inviting teachers from across the country to join the conversation online. They will be hosting a live chat during the Teacher Town Hall in their new "Teachers' Lounge,” EducationNation.com's teachers-only online forum.

Make sure your voice is heard. Tell decision-makers about YOUR experiences in the classroom. What works? What doesn't? How are you making a difference? Go to the Education Nation website and sign up to participate in the Town Hall. When you sign-up, be sure to identify yourself as an "educator" so that you can gain access to the Teachers' Lounge and participate in the live chat.

PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES RELIEF FROM NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND!


This week, President Obama announced a plan to provide relief to states from many of No Child Left Behind’s more onerous provisions, by allowing states to apply for waivers. States can apply for waivers of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) timelines and school improvement and accountability requirements; and can also request flexibility in using federal education funds in the way that best meets their needs. Funds for particular groups of disadvantaged students (such as Title I and IDEA) will be protected. In order to receive a waiver, states must meet certain conditions, including developing a rigorous and comprehensive plan to improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps and increase equity, and improve the quality of instruction. And, states must include educators and their representatives in the design and implementation of the waiver application.

NEA believes that President Obama has taken a welcome step forward with this plan. It sets much more realistic goals for schools, while maintaining ESEA’s original commitment to civil rights, high academic standards and success for every student. Educators have been sounding the alarm on NCLB’s test-label-punish approach for more than 10 years. Now, there is an opportunity to move forward with real reform, especially for the most disadvantaged students Read NEA’s full press release on the waiver plan. Learn more about the President’s plan.

NEA had requested such relief, including through a May 2011 letter to the Department of Education. The President’s plan includes most of NEA’s asks.

SUPER-COMMITTEE: KEEP UP THE DRUMBEAT TO PROTECT MAIN STREET NOT WALL STREET


As we have reported in recent weeks, the “Super Committee” created under the August deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling has begun their work. The group is charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in additional cuts and/or revenues by Thanksgiving. If the Super Committee cannot reach agreement, or Congress fails to approve their recommendations by the end of the year, at least $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect. See the members and learn more about the Super Committee.

We need to keep the pressure up to influence this committee. We must insist that any fiscal plan focus on job creation and initiatives, such as the President’s American Jobs Act, that will put Americans back to work. We have to fight hard against additional cuts to education; for protection of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and for contributions to deficit reduction from those most able to pay their fair share.

Take Action Today: Tell Congress that the super-committee must help create jobs, protect those with the greatest needs, and ensure that those most able to do so pay their fair share.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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Senator Harkin (D-IA), who during committee consideration of the FY 2012 education funding bill, strongly defended the rights of workers and the importance of the National Labor Relations Board. Senator Harkin’s leadership helped to defeat an amendment that would have gutted 75 years of labor law and undermine workers’ rights.

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Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who gave an impassioned defense of the Affordable Care Act during committee consideration of an amendment to defund this historic law.

Jeers to:

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Senator Shelby (R-AL), who introduced an amendment in committee to the FY 2012 education funding bill that would have defunded implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (the health care reform law).

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Senator Graham (R-SC), who introduced an amendment in committee to the FY 2012 education funding bill that would have gutted worker rights and the role of the National Labor Relations Board.

9/16/11

TELL CONGRESS TO PASS THE AMERICAN JOBS ACT – TO PUT AMERICANS BACK TO WORK AND KEEP STUDENTS LEARNING!


This week, President Obama sent his “American Jobs Act” to Congress, urging their immediate consideration. As we reported last week, the bill includes $30 billion to save jobs and keep students learning– and a large investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including $30 billion to help modernize America’s school buildings and community colleges. Learn more and read the bill.

Saving educator jobs and modernizing schools are investments in our children and our future. When educators are hired, students win -- they receive more individual attention, more help from counselors, more after-school help, and more opportunities to succeed. America’s students shouldn’t bear the brunt of our country’s economic crisis. They deserve manageable class-sizes and modernized and energy-efficient school buildings.

The need is great. Our students cannot afford to wait any longer. Consider these reports from NEA activists:

Minnesota -- I have seen my class size grow from 20 students to 34 students. Class offerings have greatly decreased. Tutoring programs have been eliminated. This year all of the special education students are included in the classroom with NO assistance. They are left to fail with no help from an aid or special ed. teacher.

California -- The economic crisis has affected students due to a lack of curriculum and materials. We have not had new Language Arts textbooks in fourteen years. The curriculum we use is poorly aligned with the standards. We have no money to buy supplemental materials or for the photocopying and paper necessary for teacher-made lessons.

Wisconsin -- It was the second day of school today. My classroom was 103 degrees by the end of the day. The district eliminated little refrigerators so the kids have no cold water to drink.There is no recess anymore. I can't take them outside. There is no art, music, gym, or library, and the computers in the lab are so slow you waste most of your time getting them to boot up..By January, the school will be out of tissues, paper towels, and soap.

Washington -- I have been in public education since 1974 and I have never before witnessed the cuts that have been made in the past few years. Each year, it seems we lose more programs; provide support to fewer needy children; are confronted with materials, supplies and photocopying shortages; and, now, even salary cuts. In the past 4 years, [our] 4th-6th grade Gifted program was cut in half, and then all librarians K-12 were eliminated..The only thing that will save education in our country is the many extremely bright and dedicated teachers in our schools. The people I work with are trying their very best to stay upbeat, committed, and focused on providing a high quality education to the children in their classrooms. This is becoming more and more difficult.

Pennsylvania -- I am seeing many jobs not being filled in all classifications. Of particular concern are the custodian jobs. None are being filled, or are being filled with part time staff working fewer hours to do much more work..Cleaning products have been cheapened and custodians are concerned about the sanitation. In the classroom, paraeducators are also not being replaced and many students are going without the full assistance they need.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell Congress to put Americans back to work and ensure our children the education they deserve by supporting the President’s American Jobs Act.
  • Share your story -- We know that budget cuts are happening in schools across the country, but we need your help to gauge the impact these cuts are having on your schools and students. Has your school moved to a four day school week, cut after-school programs, or dropped foreign languages? Is your school in need of maintenance or supplies? Let us know how budget woes are affecting your school. We’ll use your stories to help put pressure on Members of Congress to do the right thing and focus on creating a great public school for every student.

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: JOIN THE EDUCATION NATION TOWNHALL, SEPTEMBER 25


On September 25, NBC News will convene the largest gathering of teachers from across the country for the second-annual nationally televised "Teacher Town Hall." This special event will broadcast live on MSNBC at Noon/ET. The program-for and about teachers- will focus on the most important challenges and opportunities facing America's teachers, and feature examples of great teaching from various schools and classrooms across the country.

As hundreds of teachers get together in-person at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, NBC news is also inviting teachers from across the country to join the conversation online. They will be hosting a live chat during the Teacher Town Hall in their new "Teachers' Lounge,” EducationNation.com's teachers-only online forum.
Make sure your voice is heard. Tell decision-makers about YOUR experiences in the classroom. What works? What doesn't? How are you making a difference? Go to the Education Nation website and sign up to participate in the Town Hall. When you sign-up, be sure to identify yourself as an "educator" so that you can gain access to the Teachers' Lounge and participate in the live chat.

SUPER-COMMITTEE: KEEP UP THE DRUMBEAT TO PROTECT MAIN STREET NOT WALL STREET


A “Super Committee” created under the August deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling has begun their work. The group is charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in additional cuts and/or revenues by Thanksgiving. If the Super Committee cannot reach agreement, or Congress fails to approve their recommendations by the end of the year, at least $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect. See the members and learn more about the Super Committee.

We need to act immediately to influence this committee. We must insist that any fiscal plan focus on job creation and initiatives, such as the President’s American Jobs Act, that will put Americans back to work. We have to fight hard against additional cuts to education; for protection of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and for contributions to deficit reduction from those most able to pay their fair share.

Take Action Today: Tell Congress that the super-committee must help create jobs, protect those with the greatest needs, and ensure that those most able to do so pay their fair share.

ESEA REAUTHORIZATION: HOUSE PASSES CHARTER BILL; LOOKS AT ACCOUNTABILITY


This week, the House of Representatives passed the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218) by a vote of 365-54. NEA supported some provisions of the bill, such as protections for English Language Learners and students with disabilities. NEA also had concerns with the bill, including the need to ensure charter school accountability under the same requirements as other public schools and make sure that there is equitable funding between regular public schools and charter schools. Read NEA’s letter to Congress.

Also this week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on “Examining the Federal Role in Public School Accountability.” Witnesses included the New Mexico Commissioner of Education, a school principal from Maryland; and two Superintendents of Schools from Florida and Pennsylvania. All the witnesses voiced concerns about the current accountability system under No Child Left Behind and agreed the current system does not accurately reflect how American schools are educating students. Witnesses suggested a number of things to improve the current system, including evaluating schools on more than test scores, fostering parental involvement, strengthening early childhood education, and testing English Language Learners and students with disabilities appropriately – all things NEA strongly supports and has championed. Read NEA’s letter to the Committee.

Take Action Today: Remind Congress that educators know best what will work in schools and classrooms. Tell them to listen to the experts – you – as they reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who introduced this week the Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Act, which would provide needed resources for school repair and modernization – a centerpiece of the President’s American Jobs Act. The bill includes $25 billion for k-12 schools and $5 billion to modernize community colleges. And, it includes specific language recognizing the important role of community college faculty and staff in ensuring funded projects improve instruction.

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The House Education and the Workforce Committee, which held a balanced, informative hearing on accountability under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, keeping the ball rolling for potential meaningful changes to the current system.

Jeers to:

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The U.S. House of Representatives, which voted 238 to 186 to pass the misleadingly named "Protecting Jobs from Government Interference" Act (H.R. 2587). The bill guts worker protections by opening a huge hole in the National Labor Relations Act – a law that has protected American workers for more than 75 years. The bill strips from law the only meaningful remedy available to workers when companies violate their rights, and makes it easier for companies to ship jobs overseas and bust unions. See how your Representative voted.

News from Capitol Hill. . .

9/9/11

PRESIDENT’S JOB PROGRAM WILL KEEP STUDENTS LEARNING AND EDUCATORS WORKING!


Last night, President Obama laid out a comprehensive plan to create jobs and jump start economic recovery. The President’s “American Jobs Act” includes a major education component -- $30 billion to save jobs and keep students learning– and a large investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including $30 billion to help modernize America’s school buildings and community colleges.

This investment in education is really a critical investment in our children and our nation’s future. Right now, students are suffering the consequences of massive educator layoffs and education funding cuts. Stories like the following, submitted by NEA activists, are evident across the country:

33 percent of our teachers have been released, 2 schools closed in 2 years, class size is over 30. My class of self-contained 6th graders is at 38. Our computers are over 10 years old as the textbooks we use. There continues to be an increase of students without supplies and without food for breakfast or lunch. Students arrive home to empty houses because when the parent finds a job or position it is a considerable distance away from home. – NEA Activist, Illinois

I have worked with parents in Austin schools for over 13 years to provide parents, who typically have scant resources with the support they need to navigate the school system, participate in their children’s education and keep their children in school. My work includes connecting them with agencies that can provide their families adequate housing, clothing, jobs, food, school supplies and medical assistance – the essentials that are needed to provide children a healthy environment essential to their opportunity to succeed in school. This past year, with massive cuts in state funding for local schools on the way, many of my colleagues and I were told that we were facing employee cutbacks..Just before Christmas last year, I got a letter from the Austin school district, telling me my position was being eliminated on June 30, 2011..For now, I have been rehired as a parent support specialist, but only part time, for 20 hours a week. Even though the need is great, and students and their families are in need, I can’t serve as many working part time. I love this work and I know that it makes a real difference in these children’s lives, but now I hear from parents and teachers who say we need you here every day when a student has a problem. They tell me we need you here to work with these families and their kids to make our school better. Teachers and parents tell me they need me here to inform parents about services and help them work with their children’s teachers and the principal. I’m thankful for part time work, but these kids and their families deserve a full time investment in their future. – NEA Activist, Texas

The President’s plan will help real people. It will help the educator who has lost her job and wonders how she will feed her children. It will help the student who is struggling to learn in a school where the heat doesn’t work and the ceiling is leaking on his desk. It will help the children whose after-school enrichment program was eliminated because the staff was laid off. And, it will help the community devastated by the recession by creating the jobs needed to repair and modernize schools. Read NEA’s press release in response to the President’s speech as well as a letter sent to the White House this past Labor Day by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, in which he urged the President to make infrastructure investment a key focus of his jobs plan.

Passage of the President’s plan will be an uphill battle. Members of Congress must hear a strong, clear call for the President’s plan, including the real, human stories of those who would be impacted. In addition, the “Super-Committee” currently working on a comprehensive fiscal plan must focus on jobs (see story below). We need your help today to start making the case for education jobs and school infrastructure funding.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell Congress to put Americans back to work and ensure our children the education they deserve by supporting the President’s American Jobs Act.
  • Share your story -- We know that budget cuts are happening in schools across the country, but we need your help to gauge the impact these cuts are having on your schools and students. Has your school moved to a four day school week, cut after-school programs, or dropped foreign languages? Is your school in need of maintenance or supplies? Let us know how budget woes are affecting your school. We’ll use your stories to help put pressure on Members of Congress to do the right thing and focus on creating a great public school for every student.


SUPER-COMMITTEE BEGINS WORK: TELL THEM TO FOCUS ON JOBS AND PROTECT MAIN STREET NOT WALL STREET


A “Super Committee” created under the August deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling has begun their work. The group is charged with identifying $2.4 trillion in additional cuts and/or revenues by Thanksgiving. If the Super Committee cannot reach agreement, or Congress fails to approve their recommendations by the end of the year, at least $2.1 trillion in automatic cuts will go into effect. See the members and learn more about the Super Committee.

We need to act immediately to influence this committee. We must insist that any fiscal plan focus on job creation and initiatives, such as the President’s American Jobs Act, that will put Americans back to work. We have to fight hard against additional cuts to education; for protection of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and for contributions to deficit reduction from those most able to pay their fair share.

Take Action Today: Tell Congress that the super-committee must help create jobs, protect those with the greatest needs, and ensure that those most able to do so pay their fair share.


CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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President Obama, who in his speech before Congress called for a major investment in education jobs and school modernization, stating, “These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. The President also said, “There are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now.”

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The Congressional Black Caucus, who released a “For the People” job creation and recommendations package as part of the CBC Jobs Initiative. Chairman Cleaver also sent a letter to President Obama urging the Administration to deliver targeted solutions to address job creation in American communities with the highest unemployment, including the African American community.

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Representative John Larson (D-CT), who submitted a comprehensive packet to the “Super-Committee” calling for deficit reduction through job creation and introduced legislation calling for proposals to address unemployment and job creation.

Jeers to:

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Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry, who at the recent Republican debate and other venues called Social Security a “ponzi scheme,” a “monstrous lie” and a “failure.”

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Representative and Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), who denounced President Obama’s jobs plan as “failed gimmicks.”