April 14, 2010
Statement by Randi Weingarten,
President, American Federation of Teachers,
On Harkin Bill To Keep Our Educators Working
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee, today introduced legislation that would provide local communities with $23 billion to help avoid massive layoffs of teachers and other cutbacks in public education across the nation. It is similar in scope to a bill passed in December by the House.
WASHINGTON—With school districts across the nation and local and state governments facing unprecedented revenue shortfalls, this bill will provide the vital help needed to keep teachers in classrooms and maintain core academic programs.
Sen. Harkin’s Keep Our Educators Working Act would help schools continue providing educational opportunity and stability to children during these tough economic times. We can’t pull the rug out from under our kids, who need their teachers in the classroom, not on the unemployment line.
The Senate should make Sen. Harkin’s bill a top priority for action now. Over the next several weeks, school districts across the nation will be setting their budgets for the coming school year. If Congress waits until August to act, it will be too late to save the jobs of thousands of teachers who have already received layoff notices or preserve the services for kids provided by those teachers.
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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.