House Education Leaders Introduce Legislation to Save Nearly 4 Million Education Jobs, Spur Economic Growth in the Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Chairman Gregorio Kilili Sablan (Mariana Islands-at Large), and Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03), introduced 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. 

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. 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. 

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 and prevent permanent learning loss. 

“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.”

America’s school districts face continuing costs to keep students and their teachers healthy and to prevent learning loss. In passing the CARES Act, Congress provided short-term, emergency help to address these challenges and paid teachers’ salaries in jurisdictions facing severe budget shortfalls. But COVID-19 remains a threat to our nation’s schools,” said Subcommittee Chairman Sablan. “So, the Save Education Jobs Act provides needed long-term relief to support educators, who work tirelessly to provide instruction to students. And by ensuring that teachers and support staff can get paid, we ensure our children can continue their education even in the middle of a pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated decades of chronic underinvestment in our nation’s public schools as state and local governments face massive budget shortfalls and increased costs to keep students safe. As a result, millions of education jobs are at risk of being permanently lost if Congress fails to act,” said Chairman Scott. “The federal government has a responsibility to ensure all students have access to a quality education. The Save Education Jobs Act is a necessary investment in rebuilding our education system and helping students, educators, and communities get back on track.”

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 


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