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NEA warns COVID-19 could lead to loss of up to 2 million education jobs

Nearly 2 million education jobs—one-fifth of the public education workforce—could be lost if the Senate fails to act soon to close growing state and local budget gaps caused by COVID-19, a new NEA analysis and state-by-state breakdown warned. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 500,000 public education jobs have already been lost. By comparison, 300,000 education jobs were lost during the Great Recession.

NEA also cautioned that financially struggling states and localities need federal help to make the costly changes necessary to reopen schools safely. Those changes include modifying classrooms, cafeterias, and school buses to permit social distancing; intensive instruction and support for students traumatized by the impact of the coronavirus on their families and communities; providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for students and educators; and more.

“The American economy cannot recover if schools can’t reopen, and we cannot properly reopen schools if funding is slashed and students don’t have what they need to be safe, learn, and succeed,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

Nevertheless, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) maintains wait-and-see is the best approach. He refuses to take up the HEROES Act, passed by the House a month ago, which would provide $915 billion in direct relief for state and local governments that can be used to pay vital workers such as educators and $90 billion in additional education funding that could save more than 800,000 education jobs.

NEA’s priorities for the next coronavirus package include at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding, at least $4 billion to equip students with hot spots and devices to help narrow the digital divide and close the homework gap, at least $56 million in directed funding for personal protective equipment, relief for student loan borrowers, and at least $4 billion to protect voting rights and make voting by mail more widely available. LEARN MORE


Email your senators and tell them to take action to reopen schools safely and save education jobs.

112 responses to “NEA warns COVID-19 could lead to loss of up to 2 million education jobs

  1. Children need to be home schooled right now. The doctors that are promoting socialization are the same doctors holding remote physicals to keep infection out of their practice. We can’t enter stores at full capacity but we’re supposed to feel safe having hundreds if not thousands of children in the hallways because they’re going to suddenly walk single file on one side if the hallway 6 ft apart. There is no distinct answer on spacing, health checks, on whether or not the schools can even provide hand sanitizer and cleaning agents but we’re supposed to worry about socialization? 89 kids and their counselors all have covid because they went to summer camp. We were told kids don’t carry the disease until kids started dying from it in New York, we were told the summer heat would kill it and now our numbers are climbing, but now we’re supposed to put our lives and our faith in a system that won’t provide our classrooms with even the basic materials needed to properly teach a student. If they don’t have finite answers then we should not open.

  2. Please pass the HEROES act to ensure our public schools are able to open safely and provide a great educational experience for all of them. Fully fund public schools as the majority of American children attend them and are entitled to receive the best possible education or country CAN afford to give them! Don’t force schools to cut programs and staff. Be responsible stewards of our taxes.

    1. Please continue to open schools safely , or provide distant learning. Our children are important they deserve quality education. They are the future of the United States of America if they are not properly educated to face our countries new challenges this country will be doomed to fall under the tyranny of a dictator and lose our freedom. Do not force school to cut programs and staff , On the contrary we need more teachers and quality programs to better equip our children on making the best choices to save our country and provide a better future for all. We will not attain this if we do not properly educate our children. Famous Quote ” My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”!

  3. What about the safety of the Teachers? I’m a Teacher and I do not feel safe with returning to the classroom with this virus still going around. I understand that children need to socialize with their peers but their health is more important with this current pandemic that we all face. As a School District we can come up with a way for the children to still socialize with distancing themself to prevent the virus from affecting them or them being the carrier of this deadly virus. Just imagine when a child is sick with the common cold it gets around very easily to other children and staff members. So imagine this virus going around on high! They are children and it’s going to be hard to keep them away from each other with this virus for social distancing. So returning to school is benefiting no one, social distancing or not. How can they socialize when they will have to keep social distancing to prevent any possible transfer of this virus out there! Either way the School District is going to spend more money than usual and cutting Educational staff is not the answer. There is already a shortage of Teachers in most schools. So this situation needs to be thoroughly and patiently handled for the best of all.

    1. I’m with you! I am terrified to go back to school. I don’t trust people to follow the advice of medical professionals, such as mask wearing, social distancing and avoiding crowds. It’s not happening! And we are at the mercy of a government that doesn’t care if we die or get sick.
      Our job vs our lives and our family’s lives. This virus is not slowing down, it’s devouring everything in its path and it’s paralyzing to think about.
      I think it’s suicidal to return to “normal “, we have to have a different plan.

  4. As a former member of the Minneapolis Board of Education, I understand the need for teachers retaining positions as they teach either in the classroom or virtual teaching. In fact, to provide educational opportunities fir all students, more rather than less teachers may be needed.

  5. My severely handicapped students do not do well with distance learning. They need to be in school to get the services they need.

    1. How do you do this? How do you keep the students, their families, teachers and staff, and their families safe, and the community safe. I get it is going to be hard. My wife is high risk, I am high risk and this push to go back, is causing me to either resign, be fired, or take FMLA. I am high risk due to an issue when I was born. I should lose everything? Every one of your colleagues that are high risk should lose everything? How about we find a solution to remote learning and find ways to engage our students. Let us plan for the future rather than change on a dime based on covid increasing, bc that is what it is doing throughout the nation right now. Ask yourself this, are you prepared to lose a student to this virus, one of their if not multiple family members, one of your coworkers or more, family members of your coworker, and lastly, are you prepared to lose one of your family members to the virus that may be connected to your job or worse yet your family losing you? That is the reality. You would have to answer yes to all those in order for us to go back. If you do, the. You are a better person than me. Let’s find a way to make remote learning better, let’s engage our students, let’s bring education to them.

  6. Children need social skills. Sitting in front of a computer is not going to do that. They need to be around other children to socialize with!

    1. You are correct that children need to spend time around other children to help develop social skills. You are also correct that sitting in front of a computer will not do that. We missed our opportunity to safely reopen schools last spring. When we needed to mandate mask wearing, we did not. We have a president who actively discouraged mask wearing. We needed to open up more slowly and make sure that we had safety protocols in place to minimize the risk of COVID transmission. We had a president who did not want to do that. We had Lt. Governor in Texas who was willing to die himself in order to get the economy going again. What will happen when a COVID positive student rides the bus, goes to class, sees the secretary, principle, and nurse before anyone realizes that the child is sick? We now have a classroom of students staying home for 14 days. Every child on the bus staying home for 14 days, the principal, secretary, nurse and at least one teacher staying home for 14 days. What if another student shows up in two days and is COVID positive? How long will we be able to maintain keeping the school open as more and more people, including the adults who are supposed to supervise these kids have to isolate for two weeks? It is unfortunate, but we have to pay the price today for not taking the steps early on that would have kept the growth of COVID down. We will continue to pay the price as a significant group of people see masks as infringing on their rights and refusing to wear them. As long as this happens, schools will not be safe. By the way, when flu season hits with the same symptoms as COVID, schools will be closed all over again regardless of whether we open them now or not. We do have the choice, though, not to expose millions of kids to the virus by keeping our schools closed and adjusting our teaching methods to meet the needs of the students in a remote learning environment.

  7. Students are missing out on important academic skills & socialization when schools are closed.

    Virtual learning can never replace a classroom teacher!

    1. Can your students afford to lose you? Can you afford to lose them? If schools become clusters, as evidence has shown with any indoor activity, we are going to lose students, family members, community members, and colleagues, our family, or ourself.

      Virtual learning is what is keeping people alive and not overwhelming our medical facilities. Virtual learning is hard, let’s find a way to make it better, let’s find a way to make it successful, you are still the classroom teacher… even if it is virtual. Make that connection, engage them, I know it’s hard, but everything new to anyone is hard at first.

    2. The question should be “Will a child’s funeral be as satisfying as a child’s graduation?” Or maybe it is grandma that dies. Or maybe both parents. Virtual learning is NOT supposed to replace a teacher. It is merely a stop-gap until we can reopen schools safely, which will not be possible until there is a vaccine and/or EVERYBODY masks up.

  8. Please protect the future of our students by passing needed funding to close the educational funding gap.

    thank you
    Bill CRAVEY
    Joaquin ISD Teacher

  9. As a Special Education teacher, I want to make sure that the schools open in a responsible manner. I often have students that are medically fragile. They would be put at risk if the environment can not be accessed with thought put to their needs. Believe me, I want to be with my students but not at the risk of them getting sick.

  10. Whenever the government falls short of money, they take it from education and social services. The cutbacks to the arts have been CRIMINAL!! Children must learn to read music, take up an instrument, go to the symphony or a museums or whatever. This is as cruel as being denied an education altogether, as was the case prior to Emancipation.

  11. Please pass the Heros Act to support the necessary resources for the health and safety of educators and students to maintain the educational rigor that allows our students to excel.

  12. Reopen schools safely and save teachers jobs by funding our schools. Our children need us now and always. Education is so vital to our society and our future leaders!

  13. It’s more than past time for Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues to stand up and do what’s in the best interest of the country and for our children. If they are unwilling to stand up to Trump the. They should be voted out of office come November.

    1. Education has had a huge impact during covid 19 we already have students that were dropping off from schools if we don’t open schools back with the proper equipment so our students can return to school what future will our children have . It is already hard for some students to comprehend while in school image how it will be stressful now that are not getting the fiscal help from their teachers .Yes schools need to be reopen .

    2. I am an elementary school teacher who teaches a special education class. Students need teachers who can work on their needs in small size classroom. I earnestly request to keep the number of teachers, especially special ed. field.

    3. Education is the foundation of our country’s integrity. Please do all that you can to ensure that we continue to provide the best for our teachers and students during this difficult time. Thank you for putting the wellbeing of our nation’s youth first!

  14. The economy of the greatest country in the world, can not possibly be at such risk due to the pandemic, that our children’s lives, and those of their schools’ personnel need be put in jeopardy in order to save it. If that’s really the case, ask yourself, how did things get to this point?!!

  15. Please don’t count on a vaccine to ‘save’ us. There are more effective and natural ways to preserve your health and your immune system. Some info on this is being blocked by FB and other carriers. Sunshine is vital to help produce Vitamin D, which is vital for good health. Get the sun while you are able to.

    As to schools opening, I hope they do. Washing hands often must be done with soap and water. Wish there were a sink in every classroom! The arts MUST be taught, they keep us human: Music, Dance, PE, Visual Art, etc.

    Sorry for rambling, but we need a holistic action right now.

    1. OK. Each kid is supposed to wash their hands several times per day. 20 seconds each. Going to and from the sink, applying soap, drying hands, it will take at least 1 minute per child. That is 20 minutes each time the students have to wash their hands. Three times per day is an hour of teaching time lost to washing hands. Keeping the kids six feet apart during each 20 minute handwashing break will be like herding cats.

      As far as sunshine and vitamin D goes, Florida, the sunshine state, is the new epicenter of the virus. It would seem to me that if sunshine kept people from getting the virus, Florida, California, and Texas would be the healthiest places in the country.

      BTW, if there WERE some miracle cure, or even something that would moderately alleviate the suffering, FB and other social media websites would not be able to keep the information in the dark.

  16. The children need to be in school. In a classroom setting. Surely there are ways to make it relatively safe for them and staff. The last thing needed now are teacher layoffs!!! The education system has enough problems without being under staffed too.

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