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Letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee on Education and the Economy

February 05, 2013

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, we would like to enter the following statement into the record of the February 5 hearing on policies impacting the future of education and the workforce.

Investing in high-quality education is the best way to strengthen the middle class and restore the American Dream — the only way to prepare today’s students to succeed in life and in the competitive global economy of the 21st century. Investing in education also spurs economic growth in the many ways spelled out in the attached document, “Education and the Economy: Quick Facts.” 

Conversely, the looming sequester, if allowed to take effect, would mean draconian across-the-board cuts with just the opposite effect: fewer educators, students crammed into already overcrowded classrooms, shorter school weeks, 4-year-olds cheated out of early childhood education, and dreams dashed for aspiring college students. The impact would be harshest on the students who are in most need of help and can least afford to take more hits, including students in high-poverty communities and students with disabilities. For details, please see the attached document, “Impact of Sequestration on Federal Education Programs.”

Some say that to save money, we should replace public school teachers and classes with virtual schools and online instruction. By definition, educational quality would suffer — for some if not all students. Shortchanging our children’s education is shortsighted. “Blended learning” is best — using online tools to enhance face-to-face instruction in the manner described in the attached document, “Innovation & Education Technologies.” 

We thank the Committee for the opportunity to submit these comments. 

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director, Government Relations