On March 18, the president signed into law the bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act that provides free testing and paid sick and emergency leave for some (steps must be taken to cover more); the bill also bolsters unemployment insurance, food initiatives, and federal support for Medicaid. But it’s just a start. Additional legislation is already in the works and we need to weigh in—right now. NEA’s top legislative priorities include:
- Putting money in people’s pockets by sending “stimulus” checks to households, cancelling federal student loan payments, and further expanding unemployment insurance
- Injecting more money into state budgets and Medicaid to help avoid laying off educators and ensure access to health care
- Closing the “homework gap” by providing devices and Wi-Fi hotspots for students who lack internet access at home
- Providing flexibility in U.S. Department of Education regulations, especially those that govern Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) testing and interventions, and reasonable flexibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Guaranteeing paid sick and family medical leave for everyone who needs it
- Taking steps to prevent housing instability and a rise in homelessness
Email your representatives and urge them to support these legislative priorities to help students, educators, and families weather the coronavirus pandemic.