Press Event Draws Attention to Education Funding Crisis
May 26 - The National Education Association and Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.) held a news conference today on Capitol Hill to challenge members of Congress to “Speak Up for Education & Kids” as public education faces a huge financial crisis. Speakers urged Congress to pass legislation that would provide $23 billion in emergency funding for education jobs.
AASA Executive Director Dan Domenech was recognized at the event for AASA's role in highlighting the financial crisis facing schools, and for AASA members' advocacy efforts. The speakers cited AASA data on looming school personnel job losses. A recent AASA survey estimates 275,000 education jobs are in peril.
Rep. Obey, chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, was joined by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and two veteran teachers — from Kentucky and Georgia — who recently received layoff notices. Other speakers included Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), chair of the House Education and Labor Committee, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Reb. Obey noted that Americans are deeply concerned that the financial crisis facing schools will lead to "exploding class sizes and drastic declines in education opportunities and quality for children." He said it is imperative that the Appropriations Committee support the education jobs bill to ensure teachers, counselors, librarians and other school personnel can do their jobs. The Appropriations Committee will consider the measure on May 27.
Rep. Miller noted that his district his facing 1,000 school personnel cuts. He said passage of the jobs bill is "critical not just for the well-being of students and teachers... but also for our economy."
Sec. Duncan called on Congress to act with a sense of urgency and pass the measure immediately. He said President Barack Obama is "100% behind" it.
The press conference coincided with the launch of NEA's “Speak Up for Education & Kids” campaign to mobilize educators and others concerned about the budget emergency facing public education.