PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS NAACP-SUPPORTED BILL SAVING MORE THAN 160,000 PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS’ JOBS

LEGISLATION WAS SENT TO HIM ONLY AFTER THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES WAS CALLED BACK FROM ITS AUGUST RECESS

On Tuesday, August 10 2010, President Obama signed legislation into law that will create a $10 billion educational jobs fund which would, in turn, save the jobs of at least 160,000 teachers and other educators nation-wide. The NAACP had strongly supported this bill, H.R. 1586, and we had urged both the House and the Senate to pass this crucial legislation before many schools opened later this month.

It is clear that as states and local municipalities continue to grapple with the on-going effects of the recession that the federal government must provide assistance to meet basic needs. That is why the NAACP strongly and consistently supported $10 billion in federal funding to help retain education jobs. The concept of more than 160,000 teachers, and other educators nation-wide being let go this fall just as students are getting back into school would not only severely handicap the process of providing a high quality public education, but it is also morally wrong.

Had this legislation not passed when it did, and as a result of local governments being forced to drastically cut their budgets, we have heard threats of teacher layoffs, cuts to after-school programs, increases in class sizes and, in a few cases, plans to shorten the school week from five days to four. Our public schools are at a critical juncture, and we need to enthusiastically provide them with the support necessary to move forward.

Thus the NAACP was pleased when the Senate passed this legislation just before leaving Washington until Labor Day on August 5, 2010 by a vote of 61 to 39. The House of Representatives, which had already passed its version of the same funding and then adjourned for its summer recess, was then called back into a special session and passed the Senate bill on August 10, 2010 by a vote of 247 to 161. The bill was then sent to the President, who signed it later that same day.

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