AFT president Randi Weingarten praised the U.S. House of Representatives for taking "a courageous stand for students" by ignoring a threatened presidential veto and voting on July 1 for $10 billion to avert massive teacher layoffs and $5 billion in Pell Grants to help college students with tuition. The measure—which would help avert about 140,000 educator layoffs—would be partially paid for by shifting some money from three U.S. Education Department programs, including the competitive Race to the Top program.
"Recession-ravaged states must get help so that students won't face larger class sizes, shortened days and weeks, and the elimination of summer school and other education courses and programs," Weingarten says. "The time for this help is now, and the need is indisputable.
"It's deeply disappointing that a Democratic administration would threaten to veto a jobs bill because paying for it would require a negligible cut from its new pet programs. We understand the administration wants to protect its favorite programs for future disbursements, but we need to protect kids and this generation of new teachers now. A small sacrifice from the Race to the Top program isn't too much to ask, especially since it still would leave more than $3 billion for future spending." [AFT press release]
July 2, 2010