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NEA and AASA executives call on Congress to get serious about investing in education


ALEXANDRIA, Va. - November 21, 2013 -

Today, NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech released the following statement:

“The austerity policies ushered in by Congress aren’t working. They are harming our students and our economy,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “In fact, the across-the-board cuts, coupled with the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, are wreaking havoc in schools across the country and will only grow worse if allowed to continue.”

A recent NEA analysis revealed, and today’s report by AASA confirms, that the impact of the austerity approach falls unevenly, harming schools that rely more on federal funding for education, including students most in need of extra attention. One in four students in America attends school in a district where 15 to 20 percent of total revenue comes from federal sources. Sequester cuts, NEA’s analysis found, hurt these students even more.

“Investing in our nation’s future through education will translate into improving student achievement, shrinking achievement gaps and increasing high school graduation rates,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association. “If our country is serious about successfully competing in a 21st century global economy and bringing down unemployment rates, we need to focus on and prioritize investing in education. The findings in this report illustrate the importance of funding key federal education programs, such as Title I and IDEA.”   

Recent analysis from AASA and NEA highlight the stark reality:

  • Thirty-five point-five percent of schools have a federal share of 11.9% or more.
  • More than one-quarter of schools (25.2 percent) had an operating budget in which federal revenues represented more than 15 percent of total budget revenues.
  • More than six percent of schools had an operating budget where federal funds represented one-quarter (25 percent) or more of total budget revenues.
  • More than half of local educational agencies (LEAs) in 21 states had operating budgets where the federal share of revenues was above the national average (11.8 percent).
  • More than half of LEAs in 14 states had operating budgets where the federal share was more than 15 percent.
  • One out of every four students attends public schools in districts where 15-20 percent of total revenue is from federal sources.
  • One out of every six students attends public schools in districts where 5-15 percent of total revenue is from a single federal program (Title I).
  • One out of every ten school districts rely on federal revenue for 20-50 percent (or more) of their total revenue.

“Educators continue to see ballooning class sizes,” said Van Roekel. “We continue to experience deep cuts to critical education programs, especially for low-income and students with special needs. We are America, and we are better than this. Students, educators, and schools can’t afford any more cuts. The time is now for Congress to reverse course, end the sequester cuts, close wasteful corporate tax loopholes, demand corporations to pay their fair share in taxes, and invest in students and public education.”

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About AASA: AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

About NEA: 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. Follow us @NEAMedia.

CONTACT: Miguel Gonzalez, (202) 822-7758, mgonzalez@nea.org