Monday, April 19, 2010

Keep Our Educators Working

Last year the relief of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) had hardly settled in before we began hearing about the "funding cliff". The funding cliff is a sharp decline in ARRA money after the first year. Most states, including Delaware, used about 60% of the money in the first year.

Economic recovery in terms of putting people back to work is coming slowly. With ARRA money running out, one of the first groups of workers to fall off the infamous cliff will be educators. Today, about 300,000 education jobs are being supported by ARRA. Many states have already announced layoffs for thousands of educators: California 23,000 positions; Illinois 20,000 educators; Colorado reductions expected to hit 20% of staff in some districts; Michigan will have thousands of layoffs and more than 100 districts insolvent; New Jersey will see layoffs in more than 90% of their districts. These are a few examples chosen from flipping through a list that is loaded with casualties.

Here in Delaware, math and reading specialists are no longer funded in the budget. There are more than 200 of these educators in the state. Also, some districts who are having difficulty dealing with cost shifts to local districts in the budget, may resort to layoffs.

Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa has an answer to these scary predictions. He has filed F3206, the Keep Our Educators Working Act. The purpose of the act is to give the economy another hand up until it is able to walk on its own. He proposes doing this by saving educator jobs with a $29 billion piece of legislation that would bring $64 million to Delaware.

In the Great Depression of the 1930s, it took several federal stimulus programs over a course of years to get the economy producing jobs again.

If you believe this Act is a worthwhile cause, please call our Delaware senators and ask them to co-sponsor with Senator Harkin.

Senator Tom Carper: (202) 224-2441

Senator Ted Kaufman (202) 224-5042

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