For next COVID bill, NEA urges Congress to think big

As a fourth coronavirus legislative package begins to take shape, NEA is urging Congress to address immediate needs like funding as well as long-festering problems ranging from the homework gap to student loan debt. On April 9, NEA sent every member of Congress a detailed list of top priorities for students and educators accompanied by a letter urging lawmakers to see the current crisis for what it is: a wake-up call, not a passing storm. Like 9/11 and the Great Depression, the coronavirus crisis is destined to have a lasting impact on our way of life. Now is time to renew America’s promise of equal opportunity and justice for all.

Email your members of Congress and tell them to do more to address the coronavirus crisis.

55 responses to “For next COVID bill, NEA urges Congress to think big

  1. As the new package is developed, we need to focus. This is not a time for political platforms. We need to recognize what has brought us to this point and make sure that the needs related specifically to these circumstances are addressed. We need to consider kids; our students are missing a huge link to “normalcy” in their lives. I recognize the short and long term economic situations that will have an impact on all of us; public employees often seem to be asked [forced] to absorb the brunt of any economic down turn.
    Personally, my heart breaks for what is happening to our workers, especially those who are paid hourly, who have lost jobs due to this pandemic. I trust that they will continue to be recognized and supported by our elected officials. Now, though, we can’t create an attack on those who are still working to be sure that our country is strong and well-educated on the other side of this difficult time. Please, continue funding so that states can continue providing our children with an environment of stability, concern, connection, and LEARNING.

    1. Congress should give everyone $1,200 a month payment until this Pandemic is over, so the economy doesn’t sink into a depression!

  2. I urge Congress to forgive student loans for educators too! I have been a teacher for more than 22 years, and still paying on my students loans. I do not get paid enough as a teacher, to pay on my student loans. So now with my second job I started paying, however with the COVID-19 I lost my second job. We need DeVos out, and have someone who has been in the education field, and has been in our shoes!!

    1. I have been an educator for 22 years, and working in Hawaii as an educator for 10 of those years. I knew in my heart the the moment I accepted a teacher position here that I was destined to work with the precious children of Hawaii. It is my honor to provide them with the education they all deserve. I have worked endless additional hours to ensure ALL my students needs are met. My rent is one-half of my income here, and I live paycheck to paycheck, and also pay a student loan; however, my students’ education and success is worth the sacrifice. I implore you to protect our public educators’ positions for the sake of our children who deserve a quality education to become successful, compassionate leaders of our society. Our children are our future leaders. Please support public educators to help us continue to mold our future leaders. Many mahalos, KIm

  3. The shut down of our schools has demonstrated how poorly the distribution of up-to-date technology has left many areas of the country woefully unprepared to assure the excellence the public wants from its schools.

    Rather than give public money to unaccountable private and religious schools, the allocations should go to ensuring every child has access to thenecessary technology and every teacher has the equipment to provide instruction. Trying to provide meaningful instruction from your car in the supermarket parking lot just doesn’t cut the mustard. Shame on the “leadership?”of the DOE and Congress!!

    1. The US is only as strong as its weakest link. All Americans deserve good technology and health insurance.

    2. I am sad that our elected officials only think of their own themselves raises. Adding pork to their legislation forgetting about separation of church and state neglecting their duties to those who cant help themselves ….I can go on but shame on you…every American has q right to a good education and health insurance. Our country is built on freedoms…


  5. Equalizing opportunity for all students, especially those who need online services is paramount. IF the epidemic persists, and/or returns, and students have to go back to school because students do not online access, and the concern is gap in education, the risk is the death of children. Risking the youngest generations is risking an economic disaster
    which would be on the heads of us all.

  6. Brian,

    Neoliberal Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” You caution not take advantage of a crisis, but seem to be forgetting who benefited from 2007-2008 response, and it certainly was not the majority of Americans.
    This current crisis is laying bare the immense inequality and contradictions of our current political and economic system. Demanding healthcare, funding education, and providing a social safety net is entirely appropriate, crisis or not. Now, we have simply heightened our awareness to how broken the system really is.

    How will we pay for it? Plenty of ideas have been put forth regarding our absurd tax system that need not be detailed here, as they are ready available elsewhere. I would ask two questions: one, can we afford NOT to reimagine society? The current system is not sustainable. Secondly, people did not ask how we were going to pay for the New Deal or Great Society, the policies were imagined, created, and budgeting came later. The stall tactics limiting our political imagination need to cease if we are to emerge a more just society.

  7. My edited letter is below. Love to hear your comments.

    “As a constituent, I urge you to support additional legislation to address the coronavirus crisis.

    More money is needed for the Education Stabilization Fund to help fill state budget gaps so students don’t suffer and educators aren’t laid off. One question, though; where will it come from?

    The NEA wants Congress to Increase funding for the E-Rate program by at least $2 billion. Is this reasonable? Will throwing money at the situation help alleviate the suffering? Where will the funding come from?

    Steps have already been taken to address the coronavirus crisis. The NEA is urging more steps be taken. They are using the coronavirus crisis to solicit support for far more sweeping action. They are using a crisis to push their own agenda. This is a horrible way to push for change, taking advantage of a crisis. When the time comes for the funding to be paid for, they will probably moan and wring their hands about how spending cuts need to be made elsewhere.

    As Congress contemplates the next coronavirus bill, l urge you to support taking common sense steps. Action today needs to be considered for the implications beyond the next few months.”

      1. As Henry Giroux and David Harvey articulate, “common sense” isn’t always good sense and is nothing more than the internalized dominant culture.

        Common sense, again, has led us to a public health crisis and another economic collapse. Might it be time for new ideas, outside of austerity measures? Perhaps, we should take our lead from the majority of Americans?

        Our imagination has been limited to thinking in terms of a zero sum game, whereby we think spending must be offset by cuts elsewhere. That “common sense” is disastrous and perpetuates the cyclical disasters we’ve been experiencing. Tax deform policies, highlighted in 2017 package, aren’t going to trickle down!

    1. But why are the interest rates so high on these student loans?
      The government has a mortgage on our children’s future.

      1. In many cases students with school loans see little tax benefit during repayment. The exorbitant interest rates bog down a graduates personal financial progress. If the government is looking for an economic stimulus package, develop a plan whereby graduates can their debt into money spent on a home or a small business or…

  8. DeVos is intent on providing students for for-profit education structures. These money-makers should not be feeding off tax payers’ contributions, all of which should go ONLY to serving our students’ needs.

  9. We need more funding for public education. WE need that additional funding to go to pay teachers more and pay for more teachers. We don’t need any more administrators or high salaried middle management. We need more teachers and more pay. Simple huh?

    1. Yes–I agree–in California, teachers are paid 58 -85 thousand annually. In the midst of housing that at a minimum is $2500 -4000 monthly for a 2 or 3 bedrm apartment. While administrators are paid in excess of $350 thousand annually. Limit admin pay. Increase teacher pay. Districts do not need Teachers on Assignment. Teacher can help each other at a grade level. Time for financial accountability. Too much federal funding gets channeled out of the classroom and into adminstration–where is gets lost in a bureaucratic maze. Incentivize experienced teachers to stay longer; Incentive new teachers to join the profession. It is simple. Take politics and party-affinity OUT of the discussion.

  10. as a community supporter of Education I implore Congress to seriously invest in the platforms of educational access for students most at risk. If these students are not given all possible opportunities now, our local communities and the county will suffer greatly in the future.

  11. The crisis in education is NOT NEW.

    It’s what happens when race and class – race often being the bigger factor – decides who gets access to an equal and quality education. We need a committed solution to leveling the educational playing field that DOES NOT include more funding for charter schools UNLESS they follow the same guidelines as public schools. We need more teachers from under-served communities and I suggest working with local city and state colleges to create programs to increase the numbers of BIPoC teachers, then on mentorships and access to the latest educational tools and techniques. Let’s also end the influence of Texas in deciding what goes into textbooks. Last but certainly not least, an end to unnecessary testing. The ability to think critically and learn is NOT dependent upon how a well a student fills in a bubble with a Number 2 pencil.

    1. Greetings, Sir

      Greetings from the land of Algeria, the country of a million and a half million martyrs

      The United States of America is the largest economic and military power in the world, and it has interests that extend to all parts of the earth and the ability to interfere in all parts of the world.

      I hope America helps the poor countries in desperate need of your noble role
      God willing, my Lord, this epidemic will lift Corona from a world
      I wish you all the Rashid from Algeria

  12. Allow school choice. Allow parents to choose what’s best obviously the large institution called public education was not and is not ready. Schools have gotten too big. I want teachers to educate not indoctrinated my children

    1. You can allow school choice, without mandating it. School choice is great, as long as your child does not have a disability, or an Individual Education Plan, or need a 504 plan. School choice is great as long as your family has a stay-at-home parent who can help with homework, volunteer 500 hours annually at the school, and has reliable transportation. No one thought about that! How does a parent who needs to be at work at 8 am transport a child to school at 8:30??
      Public school still provide bus transportation. Something private charter schools do not do.
      It is public schools who successfully, historically education every child, all day, every year no matter what that child needs. It is charter schools that successfully “counsel ” a child out when it seems like, and I quote: “Our program no longer seems suitable for your child’s learning profile.” In the meantime, these charter schools take funds out of the public domain, make promises they cannot keep, and then it is the public school teachers who pick up the pieces when the child returns.
      I know. I am a public special education resource teacher in a public school. Donna–you just rang my bell!

    2. Fake News!! How’s that for an answer that works for everything you don’t agree with. I think that if you want choices then pay for it. It’s called private school and you can choose away…as long as I don’t have to pay for it. Your right ends where my rights begin.

  13. Do more for Public Education! Don’t let our village IDIOT DeVos have any input what so ever! Do the RIGHT THING for the students and their families! Pretty simple, huh!

    1. 2 True, John. We have a President put into office by billion dollar corporations. We foot the bill. De Vos needs to go to her private island, Peter Island and homeschool her grandkids. Leave ours alone.

    2. Hello:

      I have never been a fan of those voucher programs… They tend to only apply to a very select few & more importantly, they take away badly needed tax dollars from our public education system!!

  14. I am an educator in Minnesota and I am lucky to live here. We have a governor and a house that are pro education and support our efforts to do the best we can with the situation we are in right now!! PLease support all states so they also can be successful in this endeavor . We are all in this together. One thing that I feel is less focused is the mental health of the educators and the students. We actually maybe pushing too hard to make Distant Learning like on site schools. THe demands on teachers are immense! The teacher’s also have children, working partners and elderly family that are a large part of their lives. They are struggling to do all the tasks that have landed on their doorstep.
    We are grateful for all the support so far and are hopeful that this will bring positive learning outcomes for everyone!! Stay Safe and Happy Easter!!

  15. Money needs to focus on education, food, housing, small businesses. It needs to be accountable.



  16. One of my biggest concerns is congressional oversight of how these funds are being used. I don’t trust President Trump, not one bit.

  17. As a fourth coronavirus legislative package begins to take shape, I along with many Americans urge Congress to address immediate needs like funding as well as long-festering problems ranging from the homework gap to student loan debt. On April 9, NEA sent every member of Congress a detailed list of top priorities for students and educators accompanied by a letter urging lawmakers to see the current crisis for what it is: a wake-up call, not a passing storm. Like 9/11 and the Great Depression, the coronavirus crisis is destined to have a lasting impact on our way of life. Now is time to renew America’s promise of equal opportunity and justice for all.

  18. Please put education first. Students will need extra support to close the gap created by this quarantine. Distance learning can only help so much and the students most at risk for falling further behind are the most vulnerable students.

  19. I am asking Congress to forgive Student Loans for Educator’s . With this Crisis going on it is bringing lots of hardships to families.

  20. Please stop DeVos push for privatization of education. She should NOT be in charge of Anything, much less the Department of Education

    You have to wonder what the end game of the current President is…if he even has one. He is a puppet and his strings are pulled by his sycophants. The emperor has no clothes.

  21. My wife is a retired Alaska school teacher and a proud member of the NEA. I saw first hand what a dedicated bunch of folks teachers are and their compassion and care for “their” kids was extraordinary. DO YOUR JOB

  22. I am a retired teacher and current school board member. The one wot hat have existed for so many in society are exacerbated in school as we have to take care of children’s unmet needs outside of school so that they are able to be successful in school. All of us in government need to work together to care for all of our citizens, including our children. These are not isolated issues.

    1. We need get rid of Betsy DeVos! Vote Blue! The country and education are at stake right now. The slow response to the virus has caused thousands of people their lives. Vote #blue

    2. The US is NOT doing enough to help the marginalized. Many other countries, around the world, are doing more!

    3. Please do as much as you can to help us, not only during the pandemic, but to prepare for its aftereffects.

    4. The LAST thing this country needs right now is more MASSIVE spending that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren, push us into a DEPRESSION greater than that started in 1929 and give Socialism, if not Communism, a toe-hold in our great Republic. I do NOT support nor appreciate the NEA trying to speak on my behalf politically. The NEA is part of the problem and offers only solutions that will benefit far fewer individuals than it will harm. There are already programs available to most teachers to help with student loan debt. (I know, my daughter is enrolled in this debt forgiveness program.)

    5. Even prior to COVID-19, students faced unprecedented levels of debt, some from colleges that subsequently ceased operations, rendering their diplomas less credible, and leaving them with no alumnae services. Now, they face unemployment, housing difficulties, and medical difficulties. They are not even socializing, making finding a life partner difficult/impossible. This means they are on their own in terms of sharing the burden of expenses. Please!! – the debt of federal student loans must be forgiven if these young people are to have a chance at trying to establish a “normal” life going forward.

    6. Look, we are a welfare state, and have been for years: CORPORATIONS HAVE BEEN TAX PAYERS’ WELFARE RECIPIENTS FOR DECADES. Do they apy their fair share of taxes for the benefits they reap from OUR SOCIETY? NOOOO. WE, the COMMON TAXPAYER does!

      So, let’s do two things:

      First of all, protect everyone. Today is Easter, so let’s remember: “How you have treated the least…so you have treated me.” Let’s take care of our people.

      Secondly: Let’s put protections in place for the future, a sort of crisis Social Security.

      We need to give people a hand up and opportunity, especially for ALL the children, our nation’s posterity. Corporations by definition have no accounting algorithm for posterity or care for employment rates or concern for THEIR workforce – their golden egg. So we must do this as a nation.

    7. Do more for Public Education! Don’t let our village idiot DeVos have any input what so ever!! The students and the families of this country deserve it! Pretty simple, huh!!

      1. From simple minds simple solutions. How will you do more? What benefit should be cut to do so? Social security?

        1. How about rolling back the cuts in the tax rates paid by the wealthy?
          How have they helped our country with their new gift from the government.

    8. Don’t let our village IDIOT DeVos have any input on educational matters!! Do the RIGHT THING for Public Education, the students and their families! Pretty simple, huh!

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