An economic downturn that could rival the Great Depression is upon us—and threatening the ability of state and local governments to fund public education and other essential services. Costs are up as the nation struggles to contain COVID-19 and cope with dramatically rising unemployment—in the last five weeks, 26.5 million Americans have lost their jobs. Tax revenues are declining as consumers stop spending on virtually everything except groceries and Netflix subscriptions. The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says FY2021 could be the worst year EVER for state budget shortfalls.
To address the looming crisis, NEA is calling for an additional $175 billion to stabilize education funding—the $30.7 billion authorized thus far is not nearly enough. The National Governors Association is calling for even more—an additional $500 billion in direct relief to state and local governments. But Congress is going to need convincing even though history shows that’s clearly the right course. A decade ago, during the Great Recession, state and local governments scrapped essential student services and laid off tens of thousands of educators. We can’t let that happen again.
Email your members of Congress and tell them to keep students learning and educators working.