WASHINGTON—Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), and Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) have led a whopping 111 of their colleagues in sending a letter to Congressional leadership strongly urging the inclusion of at least $305 billion in K-12 education stabilization funding as they negotiate upcoming coronavirus response legislation.
“States are experiencing, and will continue to experience, increased health care and unemployment-related costs that will put further pressure on state education funding,” the lawmakers wrote. “Without federal support, the fallout from state budgets will have drastic consequences for education, particularly students’ access to teachers.”
While Tlaib, Hayes, and Pressley strongly support the $90 billion in education funding included in the recently passed The Heroes Act, only about $58 billion of that funding will actually support K-12 education. Citing a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report on state revenue shortfalls and a Learning Policy Institute report on necessary new education expenses schools now face in the wake of COVID-19, $305 billion, the lawmakers wrote, is what it will take to keep public schools afloat and children educated.
“We urge that as you negotiate coronavirus response legislation, you allocate at least $305 billion to a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for grants to States to support statewide and local funding specifically for our K-12 public schools. Our children’s education is too important to risk.,” the letter continued.
“Study after study shows our public school students face a bleak future without this $305 billion in funding,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “It is imperative that the House and Senate work to ensure they get it—at a minimum—and help prevent this pandemic from leaving a generation of children undereducated and trapped in a cycle of poverty.”
“66 years after Brown v. Board of Education, inequity in our nation’s education system remains commonplace,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “These disparities will be further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis, as state and local budgets are strained and education funding is cut. Cuts to public education result in educator layoffs, with a disproportionate impact on students of color in low-wealth communities. It is unacceptable to mortgage the future of our children to balance budgets after a national crisis. We need robust intervention to stave off the erosion of quality education services during this unprecedented time. I am proud to join Reps. Tlaib and Pressley in calling for significant funding to stabilize K-12 education in upcoming coronavirus legislation.”
“We cannot allow our students and educators to pay the price for the economic crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “As states and municipalities navigate unprecedented budget shortfalls as a result of this pandemic, Congress must act to ensure states and school districts have the funding and resources they need to support our young people during and long after this crisis. I’ll continue fighting to secure urgently needed federal funding for schools and other essential state and local government services.”
The full text of the letter and complete list of its 114 cosigners can be viewed here.