January 28, 2009
Cynthia Leonor Garza
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On U.S. House Passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives took a critical first step toward revitalizing our economy with its swift passage today of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We urge the Senate to quickly complete its work so that a final bill can be sent to President Obama for his signature.
This package will give states the lifeline they need to avoid draconian cuts to education and other essential services, to prevent further job losses, increased class sizes and limited access to proven and promising programs aimed at low-achieving students. It will also provide greater student access to a higher education and improve our public infrastructures. These necessary investments will help limit the negative, trickle-down effect on families and communities.
This bill recognizes that helping states make strategic investments in education and other vital services is key to invigorating our economy and climbing out of this recession.
Earlier this month, the AFT launched a national campaign, "Fight for America's Future: It's Dollars and Sense," in which AFT leaders and members are taking the message of making smart investments in education, healthcare and other essential services to Congress, statehouses, school boards and city halls. As part of the campaign, AFT members have sent more than 8,000 letters to Congress about the difficulty in coping with severe cuts and urging them to quickly approve the federal recovery package.
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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.