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Committee for Education Funding Holds Briefing on Educator Jobs During COVID

Teacher and students in a classroom wearing masks

On Thursday, the Committee for Education Funding, of which CEC is a member, held a briefing for Capitol Hill staff to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on educator jobs.

Researchers and policy experts provided a broad outline of the impact on education jobs nationwide, discussed the disparate impact from state to state, and addressed the impact in both the elementary and secondary school arena as well as higher education.

  • Melat Kassa, Research Associate at the Economic Policy Institute, discussed the large loss of public education jobs at the state and local level—disproportionately impacting women and people of color—and asserted that to recover, a major federal investment is needed.
  • Maryanne Salm, Associate Director of Research & Strategic Initiatives of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), said that AFT estimates 598,000 local public education jobs have been lost. The first jobs to be cut included bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, and administrative assistants. There have been 241,875 teacher job losses—almost twice the lowest point at the great recession. As part of the remedy, Salm raised the need to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to support state and local budgets.
  • Andy Brantley, President and CEO of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, said that while there have been small reductions in tenure track, non-tenure track, and adjunct positions at institutions of higher education, the full impact will not be known until the fall 2021 semester and will be largely impacted by enrollment trends.

Panelists noted that the American Rescue Plan Act will provide much-needed relief, but the federal government must now shift from relief to investment to provide long-term stability of the American public education system.

View the briefing

Posted:  26 March, 2021
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