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NEA President urges Congress to stand up for students and middle class families

Educators warn about dire consequences of Congressional inaction on the nation’s 50 million students

WASHINGTON - November 13, 2012 -

As Congress prepares for another political showdown in Washington, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel today emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama and other labor leaders, saying that he is ready, willing and able to mobilize the more than 3 million members of NEA on behalf of the nation’s students and middle class families.

The following is a statement from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

 “Washington needs to stand up for America’s 50 million school children and middle class families. It’s why I joined President Obama and a growing chorus of voices calling on Congress to work out a good deal for hard working families, extend the middle class tax cuts and ask the rich and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.

 “For years, states have been penny-pinching as a result of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. They have cut back on fixing roads and repairing schools in order to balance tight budgets. They have shed tens of thousands of education jobs along the way, which has led to ballooning class sizes and less individualized attention for our students. If some in Congress get their way and shift to the states the cost of providing Medicaid service to millions of low-income children, seniors and persons with disabilities, it will mark one of the most significant retreats from the historic federal role to ensure that basic human needs are met.  At a time when one of every five children lives in poverty and one third of all children receive their primary source of healthcare from Medicaid, it would be a grievous abdication of our responsibility to America’s neediest  children to exacerbate their challenges  with devastating cuts.  

 “When fiscal times are tough, we have to resist the urge to get our financial house in order at the expense of what matters to ordinary Americans: jobs, education, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Looming across-the-board cuts would gut funding for schools and students even more and put 78,000 educators out of work, Instead of more cuts, let’s ask CEOs and other rich Americans to pay their fair share. We cannot preserve tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent at the expense of gutting funding for special education and low-income students.

 “The 3 million members of the NEA will hold elected officials accountable—especially Republican leaders misreading the message sent by America’s voters last week. We will continue to watch the debate closely and we’ll call out any proposal that claims to be balanced, but in fact makes inequality in our economy and society worse. 

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 The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers


Miguel A. Gonzalez, 202-822-7823,