NAESP Statement On Senate Republicans’ Latest Coronavirus Relief Proposal
Alexandria, VA—July 27, 2020—“Elementary and middle school principals across the country have made it abundantly clear that Congress must provide schools a significant boost in federal funding to have any chance to safely reopen in the coming months. The legislation released today by Senate Republicans falls well short of the $175 billion baseline amount that the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and other national K-12 organizations have called for, and the proposal to condition aid on schools having to reopen for in-person classes is simply a non-starter.
The costs to schools and districts to safely reopen will be immense. Expanding sanitation protocols, boosting staffing, providing personal protective equipment for staff and students, and reconfiguring school spaces to meet social distancing guidelines will require significant resources that public schools currently do not have. In addition, with students’ support systems upended in recent months due to school closures, schools will face the enormous task of expanding school-based mental health programs and providing trauma sensitivity support to meet students’ growing social, emotional, and mental health needs. Districts and schools will confront these additional costs at the same time that K-12 education systems across the country are seeing decreased state aid due to falling state income and sales tax revenue.
Withholding funds from schools and districts that have made the difficult decision to not resume in-person classes due to current coronavirus-related risks in their community is flat-out wrong. NAESP opposes this “carrot” approach that incentivizes schools to disregard public health experts’ recommendations, which could put the lives of educators and students at risk. Tying the hands of local education leaders as they navigate extraordinarily difficult decisions about when and how to reopen schools safely is counterproductive and undermines the shared goal of ensuring safe conditions for all students, staff, and families. Congress should instead focus on getting funds to schools expeditiously and include flexibility to allocate resources to support safe school reopenings when health conditions on the ground allow for it.
NAESP looks forward to continue to work with members of both parties to ensure schools have ample resources to safely reopen when the time is right. Congress must step up and provide a strong federal response that matches the gravity of the moment and positions local education leaders to confront this crisis head on.”
Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle-level principals in the United States and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, advancing advocacy, and providing professional learning and resources for instructional leadership, including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K–3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and effective educator evaluation. NAESP administers the National Principals Resource Center, the American Student Council Association, and the President’s Education Awards & American Citizenship Awards Programs. For more information about NAESP, please visit www.naesp.org.
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