Statement by AFSA President Diann Woodard in Support of the American Jobs Act

To begin to address the serious jobs crisis in this nation, the President took a bold first step in announcing the American Jobs Act.  His plan will create quality jobs that will support families, provide public services to strengthen communities and support unemployed workers laid off through no fault of their own.

We are especially pleased that the President’s plan will invest $35 billion to prevent up to 280,000 layoffs for all K-12 educators. This will help already squeezed state and local budgets avoid further cuts that could have a significant impact on children’s education, such as increased class sizes, and the elimination of critical programs and services. The plan will also help bolster state and local efforts to rehire and retain early childhood, elementary and secondary educators.  It is essential that school leaders have necessary resources, support personnel and great teachers in every classroom in order to ensure that every student receives a high quality education.

For far too long, too many children have been forced to learn in dilapidated school buildings that are a hazard to their health. This is unacceptable. As school leaders, one of our top priorities is the safety of our students.  We applaud the President’s proposal to invest $25 billion in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools. This will not only improve the conditions of schools and bring our students into a 21st century learning environment, it will also create much needed jobs for workers in construction and other trades.

The President also made it clear that the future prosperity of our country is contingent upon an increased investment in education. We cannot, as some in Congress have called for, simply cut our way to a better future. The President is leading by proposing a responsible plan that reduces the deficit over the long-term, calls on the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and invests in education.  We call on Congress to act now and pass the American Jobs Act.