The Senate will soon consider legislation that would protect the jobs of up to 400,000 teachers across the nation (S. 1723).
Ask your senator to support the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act (S. 1723) which would protect the jobs of up to 400,000 teachers across the nation!
Teacher and first responder employment is a women’s issue. Women are 78% of k-12 teachers and 91% of teacher assistants. They are 89.7% of medical assistants who are part of every first responder team. Women, their children and elders deserve to have a full complement of first responders when an accident or heart attack lead to an emergency call.
The legislation would provide $30 billion for teachers in grants to local school districts and early-learning programs, which would fund up to 400,000 educator jobs by avoiding planned layoffs, rehiring teachers previously laid off, and hiring additional educators to decrease class size. This targeted approach to job creation will make a big difference to women’s employment outlook because approximately 76 percent of elementary and secondary teachers are women.
These grants would be paid for by a 0.5 percent surtax on income in excess of $1 million annually for individuals and couples, which would take effect in tax year 2013. The surtax is a small step toward implementing the “Buffet Rule,” which would reform the tax code so that Wall Street bankers have at least the same tax rate at firefighters and teachers. Only one-fifth of one percent of U.S. taxpayers would be impacted by this change. The revenue generated from this surtax will pay the salary of hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders who teach our children and keep our nation safe. AAUW supports, “public budgets that balance individual rights and responsibility to the community.”
The last few years have been particularly unkind to American women. According to the Pew Research Center, “Employment trends during the recovery have favored men over women in all but one of the 16 major sectors of the economy.” Women working in the public sector have been hit particularly hard. While women comprised just over half of the public sector workforce at the end of the recession (June 2009), they lost 71.2 percent of the 572,000 jobs cut from this sector between June 2009 and September 2011. That’s 407,200 jobs lost for women in the public sector in just two years.
These cuts can have devastating impacts on American families, which have come to increasingly rely upon women’s wages to make ends meet. Consequently, many women are the sole breadwinners for their families – making women’s economic security not just a matter of simple fairness, but the key to families making ends meet. AAUW strongly believes that Congress should support our nation’s teachers and education systems by supporting legislation to keep teachers in the classroom and off the unemployment line.
We need you to tell your Senators that you support legislation to protect the jobs of America’s teachers, and that you want them to do the same. To send a letter to your senators, visit AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist.