Appreciate our teachers, and pass pending bill

This is Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when students and parents show their gratitude for those who have guided them through another school year. Teachers are feted with food, homemade presents and cards, and every gift and gesture is a source of joy.

Along with these tokens of gratitude, this year, many teachers have also received pink slips. It’s happening across the country as desperate school districts implement layoffs. Educators will be out of work but it is our public school students who will really be out of luck. If these layoffs stand, many beloved teachers will be gone when students return to school next fall – but the students will still be there, and their needs will be the same.

Need more individual attention? Too bad. They’ll be crowded into classrooms with 35 or 40 other students. Need a reading specialist? Gone. Sports programs, art classes, bus routes — all will be cut, and students will live with the impact for the rest of their lives.   

That’s why the U.S. Senate should immediately pass the Keep Our Educators Working Act. The House has already passed similar legislation that would save school programs across the nation. Children get only one shot at an education. It is not their fault they are in school during a devastating economic crisis.

The 3.2 million members of the National Education Association call on Congress to do what’s right for students and our nation.

Washington, D.C.