Michigan Education Association

MEA and NEA praise Rep. Gary Peters for speaking up for education and students

Funding vote is an important first step for public schools this fall

NEW ORLEANS -The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation containing emergency funds to help states cope with the Great Recession and prevent massive layoffs of educators and cuts to programs. The spending measure, which includes billions in aid to public schools and other critical domestic priorities, now moves to the Senate. According to a National Education Association (NEA) analysis, the funds will save the jobs of approximately 138,000 educators.

The House action comes at a critical time. School budgets across the country have already been cut to the bone, forcing massive layoffs of teachers and education support professionals. Some districts are moving to four-day school weeks, gutting critical services and programs for students, or even closing schools entirely. Other districts are projecting class sizes to double as a direct result of the layoffs. These layoffs and cuts are coming at the same time schools are facing demands for better academic outcomes.

"We thank Rep. Peters for his continued support and for speaking up for public education and kids," said Iris Salters, president of the Michigan Education Association. "We are grateful to him and the House leadership for their tireless efforts to get this legislation passed.

"We need these funds to guarantee that essential programs will not be cut, classroom instruction hours will not be reduced and class sizes will not balloon dramatically. Our children are counting on the Senate to act swiftly to pass this emergency funding and stave off more economic damage to our schools. We need the Senate to pass this funding bill to ensure our schools stay open, learning time is not cut short and children continue to learn."

NEA launched a national campaign called Speak Up for Education & Kids to mobilize educators and others concerned about the budget crisis facing states and to raise awareness about the consequences of inaction. NEA will continue to put pressure on policymakers until they put students before politics.

"While Troy itself is not facing position cuts, we feel the loss of school funding and its impact on our programs," said Roberta Masters, ex-officio president of the Troy Education Association. "The emergency education funding will ensure that we are educating the whole child and encouraging opportunities for our students and their future."

For more information on Speak Up for Education & Kids, visit www.facebook.com/speakupforkids For more information on saving educators' jobs, visit www.educationvotes.nea.org/ Follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/NEAMedia

Contact:Samantha Kappalman, July 1, 2010    (202) 822-7823, newsdeadline@nea.org