Tomorrow, the House Education & Labor Committee is planning to introduce a massive $261 billion 10-year spending package to protect education jobs. Though the bill is not expected to move this year, it lays down a marker for a big recovery package next year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a severe state budget crisis in the United States. The pandemic has disrupted our education system, forcing at least 124,000 K-12 schools to close in the spring and affecting more than 55 million students. Despite the increased costs school districts face to meet safety protocols and address learning loss, they are now facing severe cuts to education funding, which will likely continue well into the future. An estimated 462,000 public K-12 employees across the country lost their jobs between February and August.
The Save Teachers’ Jobs Act of 2020 would establish an Education Jobs Fund to provide federal aid to stabilize the education workforce and stimulate the economic recovery for the long-term. Specifically, the bill is expected to:
- Provide up to $261 billion to states and school districts over 10 years, saving up to 3.9 million education jobs, including 2.6 million teacher jobs as well as jobs of school leaders, paraprofessionals, social workers, school psychologists, nurses, bus drivers, maintenance workers, and more.
- Allow state educational agencies to reserve up to five percent of funding to retain or create positions in early childhood, K-12, and higher education, and to ensure that low-income students and students of color are not taught at disproportionate rates by ineffective, out-of-field, or inexperienced teachers.
- Require school districts to use at least 90 percent of funding to pay the salaries and benefits of teachers, school leaders, and other school personnel.
- Protect K-12 education funding and high-poverty schools with strong maintenance of equity requirements.