It's clear we can't reopen classrooms safely right now. As distance learning is happening again this fall in communities across the state, districts need more resources to do so equitably, learning from the mistakes and failures of the spring. This will require local, state, and federal leaders to work together to support the full range of student and family needs.
Right now, Congress is debating another stimulus package -- and it's essential that this include billions more in funding for our schools, rather than letting the president make cuts to force schools to reopen prematurely and unsafely. We need your help to send an urgent message to Washington's Congressional delegation: provide urgent and immediate assistance for our schools and students.
Congress must ensure there is at least $200 billion for public schools in the upcoming stimulus bill. About half of that funding would go to make up for lost revenue due to the pandemic and recession. The other half would help provide things like nurses for every school, counselors and mental health services, meals, help to clean classrooms, smaller class sizes, and resources to address inequities in distance learning. Funding needs to include hiring family support workers from different cultural backgrounds who know these communities and students and can help do the work from the ground up.
Congress also needs to support families by providing more funding for child care, extending and expanding unemployment benefits, pass Rep. Pramila Jayapal's Paycheck Recovery Act, and provide more food assistance.
We also urge Congress to explicitly exclude private schools and charter schools from getting any of this funding, as the need in public schools is dire and the last round of funding got siphoned off, leaving public schools without the resources they needed. This funding can go a long way toward addressing inequities in schools, dismantling the school to prison pipeline, and rooting out oppression in our schools.
Will you take a moment to write to Senators Murray and Cantwell and to your district's Representative, urging them to ensure this stimulus supports students, families, and educators in ways that are just and equitable. There’s no time to lose. Congress will vote by the end of July, and your voice as their constituent matters now more than ever.