Bid to Save Teacher Jobs Falls Short
A proposed $23 billion bailout of America’s educational system fell short of the support needed to save hundreds of teacher jobs.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, (D-WI) cancelled last Thursday’s committee meeting after realizing they would not be able to muster the votes needed to pump billions of dollars into the nation’s financially strapped school system. The proposed bill would have been a “life raft” for 100,000 to 300,000 teachers facing layoffs, but it was scraped due to concerns from moderate Democrats in Congress and no ringing endorsement from the White House.
Even after being awarded billions in stimulus payouts in 2009, many school districts have been forced to make harsh budget cuts, closing schools and eliminating hundreds of jobs. Some lawmakers thought it would be wise to spend another $23 billion to help the situation.
“We can’t say, ‘Oh, let’s put this kid on hold for 2 years until the economy recovers,” Representative Obey said Wednesday at a news conference with Education Committee Chairman George Miller, (D-CA), and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Because the economy may recover, but the kid won’t.”
Many Democrats are fearful that supporting a bill that adds billions more to federal spending will impact them negatively come November elections. Teachers like Maureen Dinnen, a retired teacher and school board member in Broward County, FL believes the job loss of educators should be of more concern.
“I think to myself, the future of our schools, that’s just as important as the auto industry or the financial interests,” Dinnen said. “That’s our lifeblood for the future.”
According to MSNBC.com, President Obama did not request money for emergency funding for schools in his budget, but the White House press secretary Robert Gibbs did put out a statement calling for emergency school funding.
“There are thousands of teachers who will receive pink slips in the coming months,” Gibbs said in the statement. “The president strongly supports targeted aid focused on preventing these teacher layoffs in order to stem the education crisis.”
As of today, there is no word on the future of the proposal.