WASHINGTON — In response to the U.S. Congress releasing details of the latest COVID-19 relief package, the following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“For the past nine months, educators across the country have worked hard to ensure all students — Native and newcomer — have access to safe and high-quality education during the COVID-19 pandemic. And during that time, we have repeatedly called on Congress to take urgent action to not only help provide resources for our students, but also for the millions of Americans adversely impacted by the pandemic and economic crisis. Unfortunately, as the pandemic raged on and Americans suffered, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and too many Republicans ignored these calls, leaving students, families and communities to struggle on their own.
“Now with the arrival of this end-of-year COVID-19 relief package, we recognize that while it will help alleviate some of America’s suffering, it is arriving far too late for the many working families that have lost homes, savings, or even loved ones. It arrives far too late for the students whose schools have desperately needed these resources for months. And it still falls drastically short of what these unprecedented times demand.
“While important help is included, what is left out is simply wrong: no funding for the E-Rate program to help the 16 million students without home Internet access or devices despite bipartisan support for that solution; no aid to state and local governments that will likely lead to greater job losses of frontline workers and further stall the economic recovery. Let us be very clear, this bill can be seen as nothing more than a down payment in doing what is truly necessary to fully address the needs of students, educators and their families.
“We thank Democratic leaders for fighting for months to do what is right and necessary for America, and we look forward to additional and expeditious COVID-19 relief and stimulus legislation in the New Year that will help families and our nation recover and rebuild.”
For additional background and details, please view NEA’s letter to members of Congress.