Saturday, June 5, 2010

NEA Education Insider: June 4, 2010


I work in a rural school district where 60+ layoffs have occurred in the last two academic years. Our children won’t have an opportunity to maximize their potential unless this insanity stops. Children are our future doctors, accountants, brick layers, scientists, auto mechanics, and social workers. The global economy requires that we compete; doing so requires dedication to the task. Dedicated teachers and counselors and paraprofessionals make a difference in the lives of children every day. Don’t allow even one to child suffer because of this economic downturn! – Louise in Arizona

As Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess June 8, the fight will continue to pass an education jobs fund that will save hundreds of thousands of educator jobs and ensure the investments necessary to help all students succeed.

While a planned “mark-up” of an emergency funding bill including the education jobs funding was postponed prior to the congressional recess, House Appropriations Chairman, and strong public education advocate, Dave Obey (D-WI) is committed to passing this essential funding. The debate on the emergency funding bill will take place in the next few weeks – so now is the time to get involved!

We face an uphill battle in the midst of a larger political battle over spending and deficits. We need to make sure Congress understands that investing in education is good for the economy and will reduce costs later on by ensuring a well-educated, competitive workforce. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the proposed education jobs fund will reduce unemployment, generate additional tax revenue, and reduce safety net spending – all of which will reduce the ultimate cost of the bill by more than half.

Keep the calls and e-mails coming! Ask colleagues, friends, and family to join this fight:
  • You can still call 1-866-608-6355 to contact your Representative in Congress. You will hear talking points and will be connected to the United States Capitol Switchboard – ask for your House Member. Tell your Representative that public education faces a budget catastrophe and that he/she should support including investments to save education jobs in the emergency funding bill (known as the “emergency supplemental” funding bill).
  • Continue to e-mail your Members of Congress to support funding to save education jobs in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill.
  • Share your story. Is your school seeing increased class sizes? Shorter school weeks? Programs cut or eliminated? Tell us what is happening in your school and how it will impact your students.

    SPEAK UP and Keep Up on the Latest News:
  • NEW! Watch our new slideshow featuring educators who have been laid off.
  • NEW! Check out NEA’s TV commercials calling for an education jobs package, including our newest ads highlighting education support professionals and higher education faculty.
  • NEW! Watch NEA Government Relations Director, Kim Anderson, school FOX News anchor Neil Cavuto on the need for a jobs bill and the sacrifices educators make every day for their students and communities.
  • NEW! See our Jobs “Letter to the Editor” template and click here to submit your letter quickly and easily to local and national news sources through our online interface.
  • NEW! Print our “Speak Up” poster and post it at your school or workplace.
  • Visit Education Votes, where you will find more tools to help you spread the word — television and radio ads, print ads, and audio news releases.
  • Become a “fan” of Speak up for Education and Kids on Facebook -- a community of educators and concerned citizens – now more than 20,000 strong – who believe our nation has a responsibility to invest in education and avoid the short-sighted cuts that could deprive our students of the bright futures they deserve.
  • Read what your colleagues across the country are saying about layoffs in their schools.
Hundreds of thousands of educators and other public employees continue to be penalized by unfair Social Security offsets –the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision. NEA has been waging an aggressive campaign to repeal these unfair laws.

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, appointed by President Obama, has been charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run. Entitlement programs such as Social Security fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction. The Commission will make recommendations to Congress and the President by December 1, 2010.

The Commission will hold a public forum on June 30 and is also soliciting comments via e-mail. E-mail the Commission at Tell them that Social Security Social Security is the cornerstone of the social safety net for America’s retired workers and that the program and its benefits must be protected. Share with the Commission your story about how the offsets have impacted you, or will impact you, when you retire. Urge Commission members to call for repeal of the Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.