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Harkin Welcomes Administration Support for Emergency Education Jobs Funding

May 13, 2010

Harkin Welcomes Administration Support for Emergency Education Jobs Funding

In letter to Senate, House leadership, Education Secretary Calls for Education Jobs Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Appropriations panel that funds education initiatives and of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today applauded the Administration’s support for an Education Jobs Fund in the supplemental appropriations bill.  Today, Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) urging them to include emergency funding in the supplemental appropriations bill to stave off the coming wave of teacher layoffs. 

On April 14th, Senator Harkin introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act, legislation that would create a $23 billion Education Jobs Fund to keep teachers, principals, librarians and other school personnel on the job as states face crippling budget shortfalls.  Layoffs across the country have already begun as school districts submit their budgets for next year.

“I want to thank Secretary Duncan for his support today.  Having the Administration behind us gives us real momentum as we fight to save jobs and improve our education system,” Senator Harkin said.  “America’s schools are facing a massive wave of layoffs.  Because of dire state and local budget deficits, as many as 300,000 teachers and other school employees could be pink-slipped in the months ahead – more than at any other time since the Great Depression.  This would not only set back our fragile economic recovery, but it could also derail education reform efforts by forcing schools to increase class sizes and cut instructional time.  This bill will put Americans back to work educating the next generation, and I am glad to have the Administration’s support as we move forward.”

The Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill passed the Senate Appropriations Committee today.  Consideration by the full U.S. Senate is expected in the coming weeks.

To view a full version of Secretary Duncan’s letter, click here.