The bipartisan Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which President Trump signed last week, provides free coronavirus testing and paid sick and emergency leave for some workers. It also strengthens unemployment insurance, food initiatives and federal support for Medicaid. Additional federal legislation is in the works, and educators need to weigh in with Congress — now!
Here are some priorities for educators, students and their families:
- Putting money in people’s pockets by sending “stimulus” checks to households, cancelling federal student loan payments, and further expanding unemployment insurance
- Injecting more money into state budgets and Medicaid to help avoid laying off educators and ensure access to health care
- Closing the “homework gap” by providing devices and Wi-Fi hotspots for students who lack internet access at home
- Providing flexibility in U.S. Department of Education regulations, especially those that govern Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) testing and interventions, and reasonable flexibility under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Guaranteeing paid sick and family medical leave for everyone who needs it
- Taking steps to prevent housing instability and a rise in homelessness