WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement on the passage of the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill by the House of Representatives:
“Today, 21 states still spend less on public schools than they did before the Great Recession. The teacher activism of the last two years has been focused on increasing investment in public schools, and while we have advanced that agenda, kids are still going to school without counselors and nurses, and are still deprived of the supports they need. The federal government long ago promised to invest in our students who have special needs or live in poverty, and with this appropriations bill, the House Democrats have taken a real step toward fulfilling those promises.
“This appropriations bill, which increases funding for our public schools by $4.5 billion—including $1 billion each for Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act—is an $11.9 billion increase over the education budget President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have proposed. The bill is a win for every kid in this country, and every parent, educator and ally who has lent his or her voice to the fight to make public education a real priority for our federal government. Students in schools throughout America need support and funding that actually invests in their future—things like smaller class sizes, community schools and after-school programs, as well as early childhood education, child care and ways to make college more affordable—not empty rhetoric and unfulfilled promises. These are the kinds of investments that fund our future and give students what they need to succeed.
“Budgets are a moral statement of our priorities. With the passage of this bill—championed by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey and Appropriations subcommittee for Labor, HHS, and Education Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro—the House shows that it is invested in the future of our children. Now it’s time for the Senate to step up and pass an appropriations bill that matches, if not exceeds, the House’s, to counter the years of deep disinvestment in our public schools.”