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Letter to the Senate in Support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

February 04, 2009

Dear Senator:

Our nation’s families and communities are hurting.  We are confronting the most severe economic problems in generations.  Millions of Americans are struggling.  We must act quickly and responsibly to enact a plan as bold as the challenges we face.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment bill offers such a plan.  We strongly urge you to VOTE YES on its passage and oppose any amendments that would cut proposed education investments.  Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

The investments in education included in the bill – in things like school infrastructure, services for disadvantaged students, and Pell Grants for those pursuing higher education – do exactly what we need to do.  They reach the most vulnerable members of our society and put money back into our communities. 

  • The State Stabilization Fund will provide money directly to local communities through state education funding formulas.  This will ensure that funds get quickly to the areas with the greatest needs. 
  • Investing in school infrastructure will create jobs in the construction industry and among the many suppliers, ranging from architects and engineers to roofing contractors and other workers who design and build our nation’s schools.
  • Increasing funding for Pell Grants will help more students stay in college and more new students enroll in college – which in turn will help colleges and universities continue to serve as local economic engines.
  • Providing money for programs that serve disadvantaged students and students with disabilities will take pressure off state budgets already stretched to their limits.

With our nation facing such great challenges, we cannot afford to be divided by partisanship.  Rather, we must work in partnership to find solutions to these challenges.  We urge you to support the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to strengthen our economy now and invest in America’s future.

Dennis Van Roekel