How does the loss of unemployment benefits affect your students, their families?

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As of December 28 last year, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits as Congress failed to act.

In the next few weeks, elected officials will vote on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, which will provide unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed. This insurance is critical to ensuring family stability and, consequently, the well-being of thousands of children in our public schools.

Right now, long-term unemployed individuals receive neither a paycheck nor unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, rising gas and food prices are making it even harder for them to meet their families’ most basic needs. This legislation is a critical lifeline for the millions of Americans who need to keep a roof over their head and food on the table while they continue their employment search.

As an educator, you know that students often carry household problems like this into the classroom.  Have you witnessed any students showing up hungry because their parents lost benefits and there’s nothing at home to eat? Have you noticed any students having a difficult time coping in school because of the stress and strain put on them and their families because of a loss of benefits?  If so, please, share your story with Education Votes.

Reader Comments

  1. For kids of the working poor, as well as the unemployed, every day is a major struggle. My students are effected in a myriad of ways, most markedly in the way that they approach the day: They come to school, often late. They may have had nothing to eat. Their clothes are disheveled, or worse, dirty. Sometimes they have dirty faces or uncut fingernails, a sign of neglect that is not necessarily intentional. The family phones are not operational, so a call home is not an option in an emergency. Winter vacation is not a happy time for these kids and their families. I’ve had students say “I wish I could just stay at school.” Kids are often so tired, they fall asleep at their desks. This is so disheartening at times, I can almost not bear it. We do what we can as educators and human beings—making sure they have a snack, a clean change of clothes, a new backpack because the parents cannot afford to replace the one falling apart. Politicians don’t see these things daily. They have little or no concept of how their decisions effect the children of the under and unemployed.

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