Pringle tells lawmakers 1 in 5 educators face layoffs due to COVID-19
In testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee on June 15, NEA Vice President Becky Pringle stressed the urgent need for immediate action on the next coronavirus package. In just three months, nearly half a million public education jobs have been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “If this damage goes unchecked, nearly 2 million educators—one-fifth of the workforce—could lose their jobs over the next three years,” she said. Pringle also talked about the impact on the most vulnerable, students of color, and those from low-income families.
More than a month ago, the House passed the HEROES Act, 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. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has refused to take up the HEROES Act, claiming there’s no need for immediate action to address the mounting damage from COVID-19.
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. TAKE ACTION
House to vote soon on first steps to end police brutality
The Justice in Policing Act (S. 3912/H.R. 7120) cleared the House Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote after a contentious 11-hour markup session. The NEA-supported bill would ban no-knock warrants, chokeholds like the one that killed George Floyd, racial and religious profiling, transferring military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement, and it would also create a national database to help track police misconduct. The full House plans to vote on H.R. 7120 this Thursday. TAKE ACTION
Victory! Supreme Court protects LGBTQ individuals and preserves DACA
In a landmark 6-3 Supreme Court decision written by conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Supreme Court ruled on June 15 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, also applies to LGBTQ individuals. “NEA is proud to have led a broad coalition including employer groups that filed a brief in support of LGBTQ rights, but it is even prouder of the LGBTQ educators and students who endured discrimination yet continued to stand up to fight for themselves, their co-workers and their students,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. LEARN MORE
In a second momentous decision issued June 18, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s rationale for ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), calling it “arbitrary and capricious” in the 5-4 majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. DACA protects 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, including 15,000 educators. “The Supreme Court is on the right side of history,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “This victory means DACA recipients are safe, for now, from the threat of deportation. They will continue to contribute to our nation’s social fabric and economic engine in communities across the country, especially now when we need them the most.” LEARN MORE
Cheers and Jeers
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) led a letter to Senate leadership, signed by 40 more senators, urging leadership to include at least $175 billion to stabilize education funding in the next coronavirus package.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Democrats introduced the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a plan to invest in America’s infrastructure that includes $100 billion to improve and rebuild facilities in high-poverty schools.