The COVID-19 pandemic is causing harm—most significantly to people’s health, but also to their livelihoods and our nation’s economy. Schools incurred significant costs to open safely this year and purchase the technology necessary for students to learn remotely, even as state revenues, tied to income taxes, are falling.
If Congress fails to act, this situation will worsen—which is why Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is introducing the Save Education Jobs Act that will save almost 4 million jobs, spur economic growth, and help to mitigate the impact of students’ learning loss as a result of the pandemic.
“As a member of Congress with extensive classroom experience, I have seen firsthand how state and local budget cuts can decimate education funding. These cuts result in slashing essential programming, halting critical school construction, and devastating cuts to the educator workforce. These job losses have long lasting impacts on the quality and efficacy of learning in our communities, and only further entrench growing disparities in our highest need districts,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
The federal government has a responsibility to ensure all students have access to a quality education. Some researchers have estimated that by 2040, learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for current students will result in lost earnings of $110 billion per year and significant reductions in overall gross domestic product.
If the federal government doesn’t act now and appropriate sufficient funding to support states and school districts, an estimated 1.4 million to 1.9 million education jobs will be lost over the next one to two years alone. Connecticut could lose at least 9.6 percent of its education workforce—resulting in nearly four thousand critical job losses to the state’s public education system.
The Save Education Jobs Act of 2020 would establish an Education Jobs Fund to stabilize the education workforce, delivering up to $261 billion to states and school districts over 10 years. 90 percent of the funding from this bill would go towards saving the jobs of teachers, school leaders, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, librarians, and more from inevitable budget cuts because of the COVID-19 crisis. Local school districts could also use funding to hire more teachers to meet the increased need during the unprecedented transition to hybrid or distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic has caused increased trauma for our students and highlighted tremendous inequities in our schools,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “These profound changes and uncertainty point to the need for more supports, including teachers, social workers, and school psychologists, to address the social and emotional well-being of all students as they handle all the stresses of living during a pandemic. Our dedicated educators are working hard, adapting to fast-changing working conditions, coping with the struggles brought on by the pandemic, and continuing to support, engage, and connect with all their students. We applaud Jahana’s efforts to pass legislation that supports educators and provides equitable, high-quality educational opportunities for all children in public schools.”
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have been doing everything possible to support students and to partner with families and communities to ensure every student— regardless of race, ability, or ZIP code — has what they need to thrive,” said Becky Pringle, president, National Education Association. “But the challenges facing public schools and colleges have been exacerbated: more than 835,000 educator jobs already have been lost, and many more layoffs are on the horizon as local and state governments find themselves falling off a fiscal cliff. If we are able to weather this storm, the federal government must provide tools and significant resources to save education jobs and reopen our school buildings and college campuses safely and equitably.”
“We have lauded our teachers as heroes during these unprecedented times, as they have switched to virtual and hybrid learning to keep students safe during a global pandemic, and have recently returned to their classrooms, oftentimes with little assurance for their personal safety,” said Hayes. “It is time we make investments to protect educators from the massive job losses we are almost certain to experience as a result of this crisis. Teachers are essential to our society and protecting them should be non-negotiable.”
To read the bill text for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
To read a fact sheet for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
To read the section-by-section for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
To read CEA and NEA press release, click here.