Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05) introduced the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, legislation to save nearly 4 million education jobs, spur economic growth in the midst of an economic crisis, and help mitigate the impacts of students’ learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Congresswoman Hayes was joined by the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Mariana Islands-at Large) and the Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03).
“As a member of Congress with extensive classroom experience, I have seen firsthand how state and local budget cuts can decimate education funding. These cuts result in slashing essential programming, halting critical school construction and devastating cuts to the educator workforce. These job losses have long lasting impacts on the quality and efficacy of learning in our communities, and only further entrench growing disparities in our highest need districts,” said Congresswoman Hayes.
“We have lauded our teachers as heroes during these unprecedented times, as they have switched to virtual and hybrid learning to keep students safe during a global pandemic, and have recently returned to their classrooms, oftentimes with little assurance for their personal safety. It is time we make investments to protect educators from the massive job losses we are almost certain to experience as a result of this crisis. Teachers are essential to our society and protecting them should be non-negotiable.”
Since February of this year, more K-12 jobs have been lost than nearly all of the local education jobs lost during the entire Great Recession. On top of that, states are facing a $555 billion budget shortfall over the next three years. Without sufficient funding from the federal government to support states and school districts during the recovery, experts estimate 1.4 million to 1.9 million education jobs will be lost over the next one to two years alone. Connecticut is expected to lose at least 9.6% of its education workforce – resulting in nearly four thousand critical job losses to the state’s public education system. Many of these jobs include education support staff – the integral professionals that help to make schools supportive, welcoming, and safe environments for all students. These professionals help to provide mental health services for students, deliver nutritious meals and health care, transport students to school safely, clean and sanitize schools, teach the arts and music, and contribute to social and emotional learning. These jobs must be protected to ensure that schools remain the same robust and holistic centers of learning on the other side of this pandemic and recession.
The Save Education Jobs Act of 2020 would establish an Education Jobs Fund to stabilize the education workforce, delivering up to $261 billion to states and school districts over 10 years. 90 percent of the funding from this bill would go towards saving the jobs of teachers, school leaders, school psychologists, social workers, nurses, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, librarians, and more from inevitable budget cuts because of the COVID-19 crisis. Local school districts can also use funding to hire more teachers to meet the increased need during the unprecedented transition to hybrid or distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The remaining ten percent of the funding could be used to support teacher professional development, support educators, and provide mental health services – preventing further erosion of the workforce. The bill includes a provision to safeguard and promote equity – by ensuring continued funding for high poverty school districts. Not only does the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020 help to save jobs in the short term, it will help reduce the long-term economic impact of learning loss. Researchers estimate that by 2040, learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic for the current K-12 cohort will result in an earnings loss of $110 billion per year and will reduce overall gross domestic product by $173 billion to $271 billion per year. By helping save education jobs, this legislation will help schools reopen safely, prevent permanent learning loss, and prevent disparities in school districts from being further entrenched.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congresswoman Hayes has been fighting for increased resources for K-12 schools to ensure that students and teachers are safe. Congresswoman Hayes passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included $13.5 billion in funding to support online learning, purchase computers and internet access, support educational and related services for children with disabilities, provide mental health services and sanitize school buildings. The CARES Act brought back $1.382 million for schools in Connecticut.
In June, Congresswoman Hayes led 111 of her 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. In that letter, Congresswoman Hayes noted that “states are experiencing, and will continue to experience, increased health care and unemployment related costs that will further put pressure on state education funding. Without federal support, the fallout from state budgets will have drastic consequences for education, particularly students’ access to teachers.”
Congresswoman Hayes also helped to pass the HEROES Act, which provides $915 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments, which are facing budget shortfalls that could lead to mass teacher layoffs and deep cuts to public education. The Heroes Act will save hundreds of thousands of jobs and help avert devastating cuts to funding for public education. The bill also invests more than $100 billion in direct emergency funding for students and schools to help continue delivering instruction, maintain school employment, and support teachers with professional development.
The Save Education Jobs Act is endorsed by: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of School Administrators, American Library Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Association of University Centers on Disability, BellXcel and Sperling Center for Research and Innovation, Committee for Children, Council for Exceptional Children, Council of Administrators of Special Education, Council for Learning Disabilities, Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Education Trust, EDGE Consulting Partners, Educators for Excellence, GLSEN, Higher Education Consortium for Special Education, International Society for Technology in Education, KaBOOM!, National Alliance of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel, National Association of Pupil Services Administrators, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools, National Council for Languages and International Studies, National Education Association, National Science Teaching Association, National Superintendents Roundtable, Next100, PDK International, [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition (BASIC), San Diego Unified School District School Social Work Association of America, Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America), State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education, State Educational Technology Directors Association, Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, and Teach Plus.
To read the bill text for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
To read a fact sheet for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
To read the section-by-section for the Save Education Jobs Act of 2020, click here.
Rep. Jahana Hayes has been a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.
Currently serving her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District.