You may already know that Census numbers determine Congressional representation and state legislative districts, but that’s not all.
“Federal dollars for our schools and students are allocated based on the number of people in each school district… the federal government allocates over $300 billion each year — $300 billion! — to states and communities based on Census data. Over 10 years, that’s an amazing $3 trillion,” said NEA Executive Committee member Len Paolillo.
Among the many programs the Census affects are Title 1 and special education grants, plus college tuition grants and loan programs, not to mention Eisenhower state professional development grants, Native American employment and training programs, funding for senior centers and services to domestic violence and child victims.
During the 2009 NEA Representative Assembly delegates passed a New Business Item instructing NEA to take specific actions to ensure that Census 2010 be done fairly and accurately. Among those actions, it called for targeted assistance to schools near “hard to count” census tracts, especially where families might not speak English, and it also encourages state and local affiliates to become “Census partners” and even create opportunities for current and retired educators to become enumerators.
NEA is already partnering with the Census Bureau to publicize the Census In Schools (CIS) program. In September, 2009, CIS materials – lesson pans and other curriculum materials – are to be mailed to every public school across the country to help educators, students, and the community become key players in ensuring a complete count.