Congress heeds educators’ pleas to put people first, but still needs to do more
The $2 trillion CARES Act was passed by the U.S. Congress this weekend. It is the third legislative package to address coronavirus crisis and addresses many—but not all—of the urgent needs of our students, educators, schools, and communities. Key provisions include:
- Immediate stimulus checks for most households—up to $1,200 per person and $500 per child
- $30.7 billion Education Stabilization Fund to help fill expected state budget gaps and prevent educator layoffs
- Expanded unemployment insurance
- Six-month suspension of federal student loan payments
- Tens of billions of dollars to help prevent housing insecurity
Welcome as these provisions are, Congress needs to do more. NEA’s top priorities include closing the “homework gap” experienced by students who don’t have internet access at home; helping states address revenue shortfalls that could lead to cuts in education funding and educator layoffs; and ensuring access to the ballot box in 2020 elections—the $400 million the CARES Act provides is a start, but not nearly enough.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said, “We thank Congress for leading this bipartisan agreement but also want to be clear while it is another step forward, much more will be needed. We call on Congress to work together quickly on the next package and meet the growing needs in communities.” READ MORE
Cheers and Jeers
Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN), Jared Huffman (D-IL), and Pete Stauber (R-MN) led a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” letter asking for additional IDEA funding during the COVID-19 emergency.