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Time to pass the American Jobs Act

  • Written by Steve Cohen
The American Jobs Act would also help state governments prevent the layoff of 280,000 teachers and invest $25 billion to upgrade 35,000 public schools.
 Rep. Steve Cohen

There are few if any issues of greater importance to the future of America than education. Good schools pave the way for a brighter future for all Americans – both socially and economically. An education helps break the cycle of poverty, it prepares our children to compete in the global marketplace, and helps fill our democracy with informed and engaged citizens.

The American Jobs Act is President Obama’s plan to get more Americans back to work and put more money into the pockets of small businesses and middle class families. It would also help state governments prevent the layoff of 280,000 teachers and invest $25 billion to upgrade 35,000 public schools.

These funds will help keep classroom sizes down so students receive the individual attention they need to learn and grow. They will be used to make emergency repairs and renovation to crumbling schools. It will help make energy and efficiency upgrades to reduce the footprint of our schools. Localities will use the funds for asbestos abatement and removal to help keep our children safe. And these funds will be used for modernization efforts to build new science and computer labs to bring our schools out of the 20th century and into the 21st century.

Students abroad are learning in state of the art classrooms while our kids right here in America are making due with schools that should have been replaced decades ago. That’s unacceptable.

President Obama understands this and is working to fix the problem. Like most Americans, President Obama firmly believes that education is the cornerstone to future prosperity in America. This investment in our teachers and our schools reflects our values as a people and a nation. For generations, Americans have worked hard to leave a country behind that was better than the one they inherited. It’s our turn to pay it forward.

Unfortunately, many Republicans aren’t listening to the American people on the issue of education. In Congress, Republicans in the House of Representatives have caved to Tea Party members to support drastic budget cuts that slash spending for K-12 education. And all of the leading Republican candidates have supported these plans.

What kind of logic leads one to believe we should protect tax breaks for large corporations and special interests while we cut funding for our children’s education? Republicans would rather continue loopholes for their friends in the oil and banking industries than fund computers for our children’s classrooms.

Those are not Democrats’ values and those are not American values.  As President Obama works to bring down our national debt and deficit, he has made it clear we can’t do so on the backs of our children. That’s why he will continue to invest in programs to educate the next generation.

A strong education at a young age lays the foundation for future success: when young people go to school in vibrant classrooms with state of the art technology our country benefits. Today’s kids will grow up to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.  They will create future economic success. They will help lead America forward as a beacon of hope and good throughout the world. And it all starts in the classroom.

It’s time for members of Congress to vote with American values. It’s time for them to pass the American Jobs Act to help keep teachers in classrooms and ensure America’s best days still lie ahead.

(Contact Ninth District Congressman Steve Cohen at 901-544-4131, 202-225-3265,  or via email by visiting http://1.usa.gov/1yAD1Q.)

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