As fallout from COVID-19 continues to spread, states are battered by rising costs, declining revenues, and massive unemployment. In the last week alone, 3.8 million Americans filed unemployment claims, bringing the total number of unemployed to more than 30 million. The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities now projects $350 billion in state budget shortfalls in FY2021—an increase of $60 billion in just a week. School buildings housing more than 45 million students in 43 states and Washington, DC, have shut down, according to Education Week, and layoffs of educators and other public employees have begun.
To help states weather what could be the worst economic downturn in U.S. history, NEA is asking Congress for an additional $175 billion to stabilize education funding—the $30.7 billion authorized thus far is not nearly enough. The non-partisan National Governors Association is calling for even more—an additional $500 billion in direct relief to state and local governments. But Congress needs to hear from us. Right now. 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.