As Teacher Marches And Protests Sweep The Country, House & Senate Democratic Leaders Unveil New “Better Deal” Proposal To Provide Major Boost In Teacher Pay And Make Investments In America’s Schools
As Teachers Across The Country Are Making Their Voices Heard, Democrats Propose Major Increase In Federal Funding To Boost Teacher Pay & Rebuild Schools
Dems: America’s Teachers Deserve A Better Deal
Washington, DC – Today House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), joined by Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers and Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association, unveiled another critical tenet of their economic agenda, “A Better Deal.” The proposal invests in the future of education by ensuring that teacher pay is boosted, schools retain a strong and diverse workforce, school infrastructure is improved, students are provided with access to academic opportunities such as computer science, music, and civics, and special education is fully funded. Democrats propose paying for this critical investment by repurposing the money used to provide tax cuts to the top one percent. Instead of allowing millionaires, billionaires, and massive corporations keep their tax breaks and special-interest loopholes, Democrats would invest that money in teachers and students.
Specifically “A Better Deal” for Teachers and Students would:
- Dedicate $50 billion to states and school districts to increase teacher compensation and recruit and retain a strong, diverse workforce over the next 10 years.
- Establish a new $50 billion fund for school infrastructure and resources.
- Provide additional support to initiatives that increase capacity in Title I schools and ensure all students have access to academic opportunities like computer science, music, and civics.
- Protect teachers’ freedom to negotiate for better pay and conditions by safeguarding the right of public employees to join unions, collectively bargain, and engage in collective action to support each other.
- Meet our federal commitment to fund special education.
“Today, our teachers are underpaid, our schools are underfunded and our students are too often denied the tools to succeed,” said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Democrats are proud to offer A Better Deal for Our Teachers and Students: our bold, ambitious plan to give teachers a well-deserved raise, protect educators’ freedom to negotiate for better wages and working conditions and make strong, smart investments in our crumbling schools. While Republicans fight to slash teacher and school budgets, Democrats are standing with educators in every corner of the country to fight for their dignity and their paychecks, and to ensure that every student has the chance to succeed.”
“Instead of giving a tax cut to the richest Americans, we should give a pay raise to the teachers in this country who our students depend on to succeed – period,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Democrats in Congress hear the teachers marching on state capitols throughout the country demanding higher pay, and that’s why we’re proposing ‘A Better Deal’ for teachers. Our proposal includes a major boost to teacher pay, investments in school infrastructure, and increasing academic opportunities because our investment in teachers’ work should match the work they are doing for our children.”
“Decades of underfunding in public education have forced too many educators to choose between surviving on meager wages or leaving the profession they love,” said House Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member, Bobby Scott. “We must start investing in the people who commit their lives to helping students reach their full potential, and we must give public schools the tools and technology they need to prepare young people for success. This proposal reflects the core principle of the Better Deal platform: our government should be working to improve the lives of all Americans, not just the wealthy special interests.”
“Providing every student with a high-quality public education and the opportunities it brings should be one of our top priorities,” said HELP Committee Ranking Member, Senator Patty Murray. “That’s why we must increase funding for critical programs that provide high-quality education for students and continuously strive for equity to ensure all students have the tools and support they need to achieve their dreams, no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make.”
“This #RedforEd movement is about setting the right priorities for our students and our country,” said Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association. “This national movement is about making sure that our students have the opportunities they need to succeed regardless of neighborhood or ZIP code. We are demanding more for our students. We are speaking out against broken chairs, outdated textbooks that are duct taped together, classrooms with more students than desks, and four-day school weeks. The plan unveiled today won’t undo years of legislative neglect but it goes a long way toward making sure students have the schools they deserve.”
“Twenty-nine states still spend less on public education than before the Great Recession, which is why America’s teachers—from Arizona to West Virginia—are rising up for their students and themselves, and for respect and resources. This deprivation of resources didn’t happen overnight; it’s the result of harmful policies that have prioritized testing, school budget cuts, tax breaks for the wealthy and top-down education mandates over listening to educators and valuing what they, their students, parents and communities need when it comes to resources and support for teaching and learning. That is why we are so grateful to Leaders Schumer and Pelosi, Ranking Members Murray and Scott, and Democrats in Congress—because they get it. The Better Deal for Teachers and Students agenda shows that the Democrats are proposing real solutions, not empty rhetoric. This is an agenda that prioritizes making an investment in our children, in teaching and learning, and in our profession. It recognizes that public education, state by state, is the vehicle through which we enable opportunity for all children. This agenda protects teachers’ ability to advocate for themselves and their students through strong unions, and it offers a significant down payment after years of education budget cuts. Any Republican in Congress who believes in America’s future should join Democrats to pass this better deal for students and teachers, and to work with us in creating great, well-funded public schools that parents want to send their kids to, where teachers want to teach and where children find joy in learning. That starts with investment and valuing the voice of educators.” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers.