August 10, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Final Passage of Jobs Bill
WASHINGTON—Today’s House vote and last week’s Senate vote are the ultimate indication of who’s for kids and who isn’t. Every vote for this bill helps ensure that vital educational services will be available to kids who deserve the very best chance to prepare them for the knowledge economy. While it’s too late to restore summer school, the funding will arrive just in time to help reinstate laid-off educators, reverse cuts to Advanced Placement and other classes, reopen school libraries, and end furloughs. It is now imperative that states and school districts use the money as the bill intends, so that it’s spent wisely and where it’s needed most.
Acknowledging that you can’t “race to the top” if the bottom is falling out, the House and Senate leadership demonstrated great skill and tenacity in guiding this lifeline for kids to the president’s desk. Students in classrooms across America will start the 2010-2011 school year in a much better place because of the efforts of these legislators.
I watched this historic vote from the House gallery with two amazing teachers who received pink slips earlier this year—Amanda Van Ness from Toledo, Ohio; and Loris Welch from Perth Amboy, N.J. Ms. Welch just learned she has been recalled due to retirements and attrition but is anxiously hoping other laid-off colleagues, as well as Ms. Van Ness, will benefit from the funding.
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The AFT represents 1.5 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.