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, an NEA analysis and state-by-state breakdown warned. These five senators are standing by as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to participate in negotiations and provide funding to 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 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. 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
Sen. 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 at the height of the pandemic.