Eighty one percent of Idahoans oppose the Idaho Legislature's cuts to our schools. On July 1, right before its holiday recess, the U.S. House heeded the calls and emails of parents, teachers, and small business owners nationwide in passing legisation designed to save education jobs this fall.
U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick was among those voting “yes” as Congress 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 analysis, the funds will save the jobs of approximately 138,000 educators and stands to bring about $26 million to school districts in Idaho's 1st Congressional District.
“Rep. Minnick stood up for kids today by pushing for emergency funding to save thousands of educator jobs,” said Idaho Education Association President Sherri Wood. “Because of his support and the successful House vote, students will be able to attend classes that aren't bursting at the seams and receive the individualized attention they need.”
The House’s action comes at a critical time. School budgets across the country have already been cut to the bone, forcing widespread layoffs of teachers and education support professionals. Many Idaho districts have ordered teachers to take furlough days; some are not replacing teachers as they retire, which will create much larger class sizes. Other districts are moving to four-day school weeks, gutting critical services and programs for students, or even closing schools entirely. The layoffs and cuts are coming at the same time schools face growing 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.
“We applaud the House of Representatives for speaking up for public education and students. We are especially grateful to Rep. David Obey (D-WI) and the House leadership for working so hard to address the immediate education and jobs crisis,” NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said today.
“Similarly, we appreciate the unbending support of President Obama and his administration, as well as governors across the country, to ensure financial relief for struggling states and keep our nation on the road to economic recovery,” Van Roekel added.
“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,” he said. “Most importantly, however, the much-needed funds will keep class sizes from ballooning and prevent many harmful cuts to critical services and programs for students. We urge 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.”
For more information on saving educators’ jobs, visit www.educationvotes.nea.org/