Senator Tom Harkin (Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and of the Senate Appropriations panel that funds education initiatives, introduced the “Keep Our Educators Working Act” in April.
The bill, S3206, will create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to help keep teachers, principals, librarians and other school personnel on the job as states face budget shortfalls.
This week MENC joined a number of organizations in the Committee for Education Funding in a letter supporting the bill. Those include the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the American Council on Education, the American Federation of School Administrators, The College Board, and the American School Counselors Association.
Michael Blakeslee, MENC senior deputy executive director, said this is an example of MENC joining forces with other organizations to advance a cause that supports music teachers within the broader group of school educators.
The letter notes: “The organizations represent a wide array of domestic priorities, but we are united in our effort to increase discretionary funding for health, education and economic leadership, labor enforcement, job training, children’s and social programs…”
Cosponsors of the measure so far include: Senators Begich (AK), Bingaman (NM), Sherrod Brown (OH), Burris (IL), Dodd (CT), Durbin (IL), Gillibrand (NY), Lautenberg (NJ), Merkley (OR), Mikulski (MD), Murray (WA), Schumer (NY) and Stabenow (MI).
“This country is about to face a massive wave of layoffs in our schools and institutions of higher learning that could weaken our economic recovery and cause serious damage to our education system,” Harkin said. “This bill is an investment in our kids, in our economy and in our future.”
He added “The Keep Our Educators Working Act will create an Education Jobs Fund modeled after the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) that was established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the ‘Recovery Act’).”
–Roz Fehr, May 6, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education