The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all our lives in so many ways. All our lives will change in ways we don’t even know yet. But we cannot and will not just sit and wring our hands. We must plan, prepare, and mobilize to advocate for what we know students and educators need. IEA members are coming together with families, community leaders and other activists to demand that Congress act to ensure that students and communities Rise Together by:
Stabilizing education funding for students in our communities, schools, and campuses ($175B)
- State and local budgets are expected to see the deepest cuts in history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing students, educators, and public schools at great risk. We must make sure Congress invests in the cornerstone our democracy—public education.
- We’re calling on Congress to provide at least $175 billion to distribute to states and local districts, allocated by formula based on poverty, to fill COVID-19 budget gaps that will hurt students in schools and on campuses.
Building bridges for educational opportunities for students and stronger communities ($4 B)
- COVID-19 has brought the stark reality of the digital divide front and center. More than 10 million K-12 students, living in poverty and in rural areas, are at risk of falling behind their peers because they don’t have internet access at home and are denied the opportunities to learn that are afforded their peers.
- We demand that Congress provide funding for the highly successful E-rate program which helps schools ensure WiFi hotspots and connected devices for K-12 students who do not have internet access and connected devices at home.
Supporting the safety, health and well-being of students and educators
- Teachers, Education Support Professionals (ESPs), and other school staff who interact with students and their families, including food service workers, custodians, security officers, bus drivers, and others must have the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to protect students, colleagues, families, and themselves.
- The safety and well-being of students and educators when they return to school cannot be compromised. The needs will be varied, including mental health and nutritional supports, training for loss and trauma related to the COVID-19 crisis.
- Expand funding to community-based health care (inclusive of mental health services) with incentives to partner with schools to expand care (targeted to communities with high rates of student households living in poverty).
We can’t open the economy until we open schools, and schools can’t open if we don’t give students and educators what they need to succeed!
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