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NEA President Dennis Van Roekel: Congress takes necessary step to slow economic crisis

Public schools, children and educators put ahead of partisan politics

WASHINGTON - October 03, 2008 -

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, and President Bush signed into law, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. The Senate passed the bill earlier this week. The bill addresses issues critically important to children and public education, maintaining the expiring educator tax deduction that helps educators who purchase essential classroom supplies with their own and allowing 4,400 rural schools in 42 states to offer essential education services. It also expands the Child Tax Credit, provides mental health parity and invests in the modernization and installation of 21st century technology in schools in rural and urban communities.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

"Today, Congress took the necessary step to slow the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"As educators, NEA members also are witnessing the impacts of the economic crisis firsthand. Schools are seeing record numbers of students who are homeless or poor enough to qualify for free school meals. Rising fuel costs are forcing school districts to take drastic measures, including cutting all field trips and shortening the school week. Some districts have already been forced to layoff school staff.

"That’s why I'm pleased that Congress, in passing this critical piece of legislation, took a step in the right direction by providing additional tools and resources for millions of children and thousands of public schools, putting children and public schools ahead of partisan politics. In doing so, Congress recognized that all roads—literally and figuratively—to economic security and prosperity go through our schools."

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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 Gonzalez (202) 822-7823