July 1, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On U.S. House Passage of $10 Billion Education Jobs Bill
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $10 billion education jobs funding bill that will help avert about 140,000 educator layoffs. The measure would be partially paid for by shifting some money from three U.S. Education Department programs, including the competitive Race to the Top program.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives tonight took a courageous stand for students by ignoring a threatened presidential veto and voting for $10 billion to avert massive teacher layoffs and $5 billion in Pell Grants to help college students with tuition. Recession-ravaged states must get help so that students won’t face larger class sizes, shortened days and weeks, and the elimination of summer school and other education courses and programs. The time for this help is now, and the need is indisputable.
It’s deeply disappointing that a Democratic administration would threaten to veto a jobs bill because paying for it would require a negligible cut from its new pet programs. We understand the administration wants to protect its favorite programs for future disbursements, but we need to protect kids and this generation of new teachers now. A small sacrifice from the Race to the Top program isn’t too much to ask, especially since it still would leave more than $3 billion for future spending.
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The AFT represents more than 1.4 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.