Education News

These Senators are standing in the way of funding to stabilize public schools

By Amanda Menas

As educators across the country grapple with what it means to reopen schools, they know that without the full support of local and national legislators, the safety and equity of their students will be compromised. Nearly 2 million education jobs could be lost over the next three years 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.

“[The coronavirus pandemic] has deepened disparities and prompted state and local budget cuts that will devastate students in many public schools, severely restricting their opportunity for an education that sparks their curiosity, inspires their desire to learn, and sets them up for success,” said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle during Congressional testimony on June 15.

It has now been more than three months since the House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and sent it to the Senate. The bill includes $100 billion specifically for K-12 and higher education along with $915 billion in state and local aid to address budget gaps that could be used to help public schools and college campuses. But, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring it to a vote, putting students, educators, and their families through undue hardship and uncertainty. 

Additionally, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has used the public health emergency to push her anti-public education agenda. Instead of protecting the public schools that 90 percent of families rely on, she is holding up state funding and using the COVID-19 crisis to push her radical voucher schemes

The Senate will soon leave for the July 4 recess without passing another major COVID relief package, leaving a deeply troubled economy and setting up schools to lose as much as one-fifth of the public education workforce over the next three years. As NEA President Lily Eskelsen García said, “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.”

These five senators are standing by as Majority Leader McConnell refuses to pass funding that will stabilize our schools:

Susan Collins, Maine

So far, Sen. Collins has promised action on behalf of education, but there are no signs that she can succeed in moving Majority Leader McConnell to act on another COVID-19 relief bill. This has been a common complaint about Collins in the last few years: big talk, but little delivery on her words. Will she step up and deliver for the educators and students who are depending on Congress to help states stabilize schools? Maine educators and students sure need her now, with 11,000 educator jobs on the line in Maine alone.

Steve Daines, Montana

With Sen. Daines’ approval numbers slipping to 48 percent amid the pandemic, it is no surprise that educators in Montana feel their voices are not being heard, their students are going unrepresented, and over 7,000 jobs are on the line. Senator Daines also filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of public funding for religious education in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The case could create a legal path for the expansion of voucher programs, further draining already scarce resources from the public schools that serve 90 percent of our nation’s students.

Cory Gardner, Colorado

Senator Gardner has blocked the rights of educators for years, a situation that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Having previously received $49,800 from the DeVos family, Gardner has time and again supported an anti-public education agenda. Now, nearly 30,000 Colorado educator jobs are on the line.

Martha McSally, Arizona

While thousands of residents of Arizona suffered the physical and financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sen. McSally said that smaller cities and towns are on their own to receive funding. Instead of supporting additional funding to protect the 36,606 Arizona education jobs that could be lost over three years, she accused smaller cities of using pandemic relief as a “cash cow.” However, even with relief funding, many municipalities will still suffer from the impact of the pandemic. McSally has enabled McConnell’s obstructionism, leaving her constituents without the leadership and relief they need.

Thom Tillis, North Carolina

In a state that is projected to lose nearly 80,000 educator jobs over three years, one of the highest projections in the country, Thom Tillis has been missing in action. These educators and their families will be subject to one of the nation’s lowest unemployment benefits because of cuts made by Tillis. He has blocked Medicaid expansion and attempted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, even amid the height of the pandemic. Backed by DeVos family contributions, Tillis has said he wants to eliminate the entire US Department of Education, and since taking office has pushed forward continuous attacks against educators.

34 responses to “These Senators are standing in the way of funding to stabilize public schools

  1. Education continues to get hit time and time again and the country always ends up paying for it financially and emotionally. This government must start educating themselves and or taking responsibility with actions that will enhance us as a whole not a divide.

  2. Stop the nonsense. Fund education as it should be funded. The future of our country depends on the funding of education and the health of our children. Stop holding education hostage. Do the right thing and stop this insanity!

    1. My mantra has ALWAYS been “education is the key”. How many can we teach/feed for ONE $300 MILLION fighter plane? Gggrr

  3. 90% of all children attend public schools in the United States. 100% of school districts are facing deep budget cuts for the 2020-2021 school year. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the states’ abilities to adequately fund schools this fall. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT. MILLIONS OF KIDS NEED YOUR HELP. We cannot safely educate our students this fall without additional funding to deal with the deficits caused by the Covid-19 pandemic AND for purchasing all of the equipment and extra staffing we will need to safely return to school. Please remember this: every child has the potential to grow into a successful adult who is an asset to our nation. But they need our love and care and excellent teaching in order to reach their potential.
    Thank you.

  4. The sad thing is Martha McSally lost her election in 2018 but was appointed by the governor when another senator resigned. Arizona didn’t even want her to be our senator! I have sent her many emails and she always reply back with the same bologna! I can’t wait to vote her out again!

  5. Stop the nonsense of holding up funding to stabilize our nation’s public schools. You’ve approved stabilization funding for the private sector, now show our nation’s youth the respect and investment they deserve. Bring the HEROES act to the Senate Floor and pass the legislation you’re elected to do. And Senator McConnell, don’t give Kentucky voters another reason to vote you out of office. Y’all are better than this hiding and pushing the HEROES act to the back. Be a true patriot who sees our youth and their education as foundational to our economy and democracy.

  6. I don’t ever ever ever post about politics anywhere . I am an educator my father was an educator and then ran the children’s home . I’ve been in education for 31 years as a teacher,coach, principal and special education supervisor.!plus the numerous hours volunteering in every youth sport my boys played for 12 plus years. I’m not anything special but there are so many great teachers that I know only teach in the classroom to teach in the community support the community . All of you make great points if you don’t invest in the future ,which is our children, we will go nowhere .it is absolutely mind-boggling to me that any politician would ignore that and it starts all the way at the top please support public education because it truly is the only system that works. I wonder how many politicians actually stepped in a classroom and they have to teach for just one week. I guarantee you 90% of them would bail after two days.

  7. To ANY senators who oppose education funding: When was the last time you walked into a school? Did you have 40 kids in your classes when you attended? Guess what – that has changed. Teachers are parents, counselors, snack-suppliers, pen, pencil & paper suppliers, providers of Kleenex, and now, most likely, hand sanitizers and wipes. We need classes of 20 students so we can be all those things. Our students come from all races and walks of life. Some have strong, supportive parents, but some lack parenting and safety at home, or maybe have no home. It’s a different world. Stop vacationing in D.C. and wake up. Without education, both academic and vocational, this country will never become the hope of our future.

  8. These senators are trying to save money by cutting education, the environment, Science, research, social services, while giving tax breaks to billionnaires, increasing Military budgets and cutting health care and school aid.
    This is unethical and unAmerican!

    1. What the hell is wrong with you are you so far up some ass you have sold your soul you are not an American just remember karma is a bitch

  9. Education is the future of our country. It is the foundation supporting our country’s rebuilding.
    Through COVID19 and the current administration our nation has been destroyed. We cannot rebuild on the eroded footprint laid centuries ago.My grandchildren and great granddaughters deserve better than what is being offered.
    Please come back to Earth from your high and mighty place on the Hill and wake up to our reality, our America.
    We want an America that is OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE!

  10. June 28, 2020 at 7:03 pm
    Provide more funding for public schools. If you don’t local school districts will not be able to provide a safe education for our children.


  11. Our youth cannot be abandoned in their basic need and right for education. They are our future! We need leaders, not troubled adults because no one cared to keep public schools thriving!! Without this major funding, we compromise, health, welfare, healthy food programs, arts & music, sports, environmental education and so much more for our children. How is it humane to deprive our schools, youth, educators & administrators from this funding, but keep lining the pockets of these politicians??? Fund Public Education!! Our youth matter!!

    1. Somehow this doesn’t surprise me that Tillis is on here. North Carolina R’s DO NOT support education. We have NOT have a budget passed since 2018. They are holding our schools hostage and I for the the life of me can not see how this is even constitutional? They only care about lining their own pockets and power grabs.

    2. Perfectly said! I’m a former teacher and school counselor. Our next generations of adults must be strong and educated, not weakened and broken down by negligent hate-filled legislation.

  12. I live in California so these people aren’t representing my state, but they are adversely impacting EVERY educator in EVERY state by their actions, or lack of. Public school teachers do all we can to inspire and encourage students to be successful and contributing members of society. We teach the young people who will become tomorrow’s leaders and it can’t be done without funding. A free, public education is what made America great and America won’t be great ever again if education is not fully supported and funded by the federal government.

  13. We need our schools funded. Support American working family and education instead of giving money to the rich Senator Danies. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  14. Something needs to be done to help educators reach all their students through technology or in the classroom. I had students that did not have technology to view the lessons on TEAMS, YOUTUBE, etc. Administration was not supportative. In fact I spent 9 weeks of negative feedback no matter what I did. Budget cuts left teachers without jobs, and yes I was one of them. I have no job and have no idea if I will get placed some where else in the school system.

  15. Senator Daines:
    Educators in Montana feel their voices are not being heard, their students are going unrepresented, and over 7,000 jobs are on the line. Personally funded private and religious schools remain an options for those who choose to support them. Public education is the right of all children, and the basis for a successful democracy.

    Senator Daines, I am personally dismayed that you filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of public funding for religious education in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. The case could create a legal path for the expansion of voucher programs, further draining already scarce resources from the public schools. In Montana public schools need the money that could be siphoned off for private and religious schools.

    Senator Daines, how can you stand by as Majority Leader McConnell refuses to pass funding that will stabilize our schools. Without stabilizing public schools, the economy will not be as capable of rebounding, and U.S. students may fall behind students in other countries. Be a part of the solution;speak up to encourage Mitch McConnell to push forward legislation that will maintain viability of public education in Montana.

    1. Daines, the carpetbagger from New Jersey does not support public education. The only hope Montana’s have is at the voting booth. His friend running for governor isn’t any better.

  16. I can’t believe these leaders will not find public education. Our lack of leadership in this country is absolutely amazing. For years Daines has lacked the intelligence to fund K-12 education but will quickly criticize it. Let’s makes sure everyone remembers those imbeciles when we vote.

  17. Provide more funding for public schools. If you don’t local school districts will not be able to provide a safe education for our children.

  18. Public schools and public education need to be top priority at this critical time for the well-being of America and Americans.

  19. I’m a resident of Colorado, and I’m voting against Cory Gardner. He does not represent us so I’m voting him out.

    1. The short-sighted view of education that has long been held by those who do not support public schools is being highlighted by the current economic crisis. We need well-equipped schools for today and for our country’s future. Our students are the voters and workers of tomorrow. They deserve the best!

      1. Your constituents made it clear they want students in school in the safest condition. Your financial support is the only way this can happen, so support our schools.

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