Education in America has changed since I sat in a classroom in Waxahachie, Texas. As our schools have changed, our teachers have as well. When I was growing up, it was common to have teachers who stood at the front of the classroom with only a two-year degree under their belt. Today, most teachers hold a full four-year degree, and over half have earned master’s degrees. Our teachers are as educated as they have ever been, and they work equally as hard. The average primary or secondary school teacher works over 50 hours a week, including time spent helping kids find the right bus, directing fundraisers, and advising student clubs. They are a precious resource and an unflagging force, laboring daily for the public good.
But as the economic crisis eroded the coffers of state and school districts, many of our teachers found their jobs in jeopardy. In the last few months it became clear that budgetary concerns in state and local governments all over our country threatened our schools. But this week my colleagues in the Senate approved a measure to infuse our cash-strapped states with the funds necessary to keep our teachers in the classrooms and off the unemployment lines.
In order to ensure that this much-needed bill becomes a law, the Speaker has recalled the House to Washington to take up the Senate measure. The bill will provide $26 billion to agencies that are struggling to serve the public. This not only includes assistance for state and local school boards, but will also help Medicaid cover the cost of caring for our nation’s poor in the coming year. These are among the most essential of public services and we cannot afford to allow them to wither.
I also recognize that many of you are as concerned with Washington’s budget as you are your own. These are wise and legitimate concerns. Let me reassure you that this measure is completely paid for. It derives its funds from cuts to programs in current and future budgets. The bill also raises revenue by closing a tax loophole that has been exploited by multi-national companies who send jobs overseas.
This bill is about protecting American Jobs and the American workforce. I am pleased to return to vote for it, and urge the Senate to finish more of the work that the people of our country elected them to address. As we near the beginning of the school year, this bill could not have come at a more opportune time for our local school districts and the teachers who now know they will have a job in the coming weeks.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Cleaver to vote for bill to help education
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session next week to take up the Senate bill which would keep schools across America from having to cut teachers' jobs. In his EC from DC column, First District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. says he will vote for that legislation: