Federal Federal File

AFT, NEA Back Economic Stimulus

By Alyson Klein — November 04, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The presidents of both national teachers’ unions told a House panel last week that investing in school facilities could help put the economy on a firmer footing.

The Oct. 29 hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee explored whether Congress should enact a new economic-stimulus package during a possible lame-duck session after the election. The legislation could include aid for states and localities, such as money for highway infrastructure, school construction, and other projects designed to spur the sputtering economy.

Dennis Van Roekel, the president of the National Education Association, and Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, argued that steering money toward education would help the nation emerge from the economic downturn and ultimately enable the next generation of Americans to compete in the global economy.

“Some may think it’s odd for the presidents of both teachers’ unions to be at a hearing on economic stimulus,” said Ms. Weingarten, who leads the 1.4 million-member AFT. “The simple fact is this: education and the economy are intertwined,” she said. “Neither is strong when the other is weak. … When the economy is weak and governments make spending cuts, they all too often occur in K-16 programs.”

Mr. Van Roekel, the head of the 3.2 million-member NEA, said investing $20 billion over the next five years would support about 50,000 jobs annually, while also improving the learning environment for students.

Other witnesses on the panel included governors and other state officials, such as Gov. David A. Paterson of New York, a Democrat, and Douglas Palmer, the Democratic mayor of Trenton, N.J. Most favored a stimulus package that would include some aid to states and municipalities.

But Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a Republican, argued that the spending package would add to the federal deficit. “We’re talking about borrowing more money from our kids and grandkids,” he said. “I think there’s some irony in borrowing more to deal with a problem that was ultimately created by excessive borrowing.”

A version of this article appeared in the November 05, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Biden Drops Out of Race and Endorses Kamala Harris to Lead the Democratic Ticket
The president's endorsement of Harris makes the vice president the most likely nominee for the Democrats.
3 min read
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington.
President Joe Biden speaks at a news conference July 11, 2024, on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington. He announced Sunday that he was dropping out of the 2024 presidential race and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris as his replacement for the Democratic nomination.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal What We Know About Kamala Harris' K-12 Record, and Other Potential Biden Replacements
Harris is the frontrunner for the top of the ticket. A look at her record on K-12, along with those of other Democratic contenders.
8 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris embraces President Joe Biden after a speech on healthcare in Raleigh, N.C., March. 26, 2024. President Joe Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House on Sunday, July 21, ending his bid for reelection following a disastrous debate with Donald Trump that raised doubts about his fitness for office just four months before the election.
Vice President Kamala Harris embraces President Joe Biden after a speech on health care in Raleigh, N.C., on March 26, 2024. Biden on Sunday announced he wouldn't run for reelection and endorsed Harris as his replacement.
Matt Kelley/AP
Federal Opinion The Great Project 2025 Freakout
There's nothing especially scary in the Heritage Foundation's education agenda—nor is it a reliable gauge of another Trump administration.
6 min read
Man lurking behind the American flag, suspicion concept.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Federal Data Is the Federal Agency That Tracks School Data Losing Steam?
A new study of U.S. data agencies finds serious capacity problems at the National Center for Education Statistics.
3 min read
Illustration of data bar charts and line graphs superimposed over a school crossing sign.
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty images