At the final event of the “Education and the Economy” Back-to-School Bus Tour, Secretary Arne Duncan returned to his hometown with an urgent message: Our country needs to invest in education today.
During a roundtable discussion at Carl Schurz High School in Chicago, Duncan reviewed some of what he learned during the three-day, six-state tour where he met with teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community leaders. The sobering news is that districts are continue to struggle financially and are facing tough choices in this schools year.
In Pittsburgh, the district is considering eliminating extracurricular activities. In Cleveland, the district may have to lay off teachers in the middle of the school year. “Think about what it will mean to students to see those teachers disappear,” he told the audience at Schurz, which include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Richard Durbin, Gov. Pat Quinn, and other city and state leaders.
In Milwaukee, art, music, and physical education teachers may face layoffs. “When you lose art, music, and physical education, none of that’s good for children,” he said.
The bill will allocate $30 billion to support teacher jobs and $30 billion for school modernization and renovation. In Illinois alone, the bill would provide $1.24 billion for teacher jobs – enough to support 14,500 jobs for one school year. Chicago would receive $609 million to renovate and modernize schools, with another $503 million available for the rest of the state.
Based on what he learned on the tour, Duncan recognizes the urgency facing states and districts across the country.
“If Congress passes this bill, we’ll move the money to state and districts as fast as we can,” Duncan said.
Click here for state-by-state information on the American Jobs Act.
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