NEA Members Get It Done! House Passes $10 Billion Jobs Bill

The House of Representatives voted tonight to approve funding that will save an estimated 138,000 educator jobs. NEA members called Congress today by the hundreds, adding to more than 60,000 calls made in the weeks leading up to tonight’s crucial vote.

The measure passed shortly before 10:30 p.m. by a vote of 239-182 with one member voting “present.”

“We applaud the House of Representatives for speaking up for public education and students,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said. “Today, as a direct result of educators’ voices and efforts, we are a step closer to making sure children do not have to bear the brunt of our nation’s economic woes.”

Action moves next to the Senate, which will take the jobs funding up after the July 4 recess. The pressure that NEA members and supporters applied to the House will be crucial when this happens. (Read much more at EducationVotes about how NEA members across the country were a driving force on the legislation passing.)

Funding approved with the vote will help states to cope with the Great Recession and stave off 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.

The timely action by the House of Representatives 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.

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.

Van Roekel noted that NEA is especially grateful to Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.) and the House leadership for working so hard to address the immediate education and jobs crisis.

“Similarly, we appreciate the unbending support of governors across the country to ensure financial relief for struggling states and keep our nation on the road to economic recovery,” Van Roekel said.

He urged the Senate to act swiftly to pass the emergency funding bill and stave off more economic damage to our schools.

“We need to keeping schools open, educators working and students learning,” Van Roekel said.

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