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Senate fails to pass education jobs bill again

Thousands of educators and students left in limbo for next school year

WASHINGTON - October 21, 2011 -

The U.S. Senate for a second time in less than two weeks failed to pass a bill to put educators back in classrooms instead of on the unemployment lines. The investments in education included in the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act would help jump start the economy, keep educators working, and most importantly, help keep students learning the skills they need to succeed. 

“The Senate’s failure to pass the education jobs bill is ill-timed and short-sighted,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “By not passing the legislation, the Senate is sending our children a message that they do not matter and that their education is not a priority for our nation.”

Teachers, education support professionals, parents and others in local communities are rallying behind President Barack Obama’s bold proposal to get the economy moving in the right direction. The proposal would put approximately 400,000 educators back to work and help keep class sizes more manageable. 

The Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, if passed, would have put people like Cherine Akbari back in the classroom. Akbari, a laid-off history teacher from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Florida, was fired the last day of Teacher Appreciation Week and five days after she moved into her new house. There are hundreds of thousands of unemployed educators like Cherine who are willing and eager to get back into schools and classrooms—with help from Congress.

“This legislation is about securing the future for our students and our nation,” continued Van Roekel. “Classes started this fall already bursting at the seams, and children have access to significantly fewer counselors, nurses, reading specialists and other essential education professionals. Bus routes have been cut and classes in art, business education and physical education, among others, have disappeared. When educators lose their jobs, students lose too.”

“We are grateful for the leadership of Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.) and his relentless effort to bring this bill to the floor of the Senate. We urge Sen. Reid and President Obama not to take no for an answer when it comes to keeping educators working and students learning,” concluded Van Roekel.

To view a video of Cherine urging the Senate to pass the bill, click here:
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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: Miguel A. Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,