The Pentagon announced furloughs last week for educators who work in Department of Defense schools, making the children of our military personnel the latest victims of across the board cuts mandated by sequestration. Disrupting the education of these students is unnecessary and harmful.
NEA strongly supports Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia’s request to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to exempt teachers and education support professionals in Department of Defense operated schools from sequestration furloughs.
- According to a directive issued by the Secretary of Defense, educators in schools operated by the Department of Defense (DoDEA) will face up to 5 furlough days, while education support professionals could face 11 days between the start of the 2013-2014 school year and the end of September; the original proposal called for 22.
- Due to the timing of this decision, these furloughs will be sandwiched into the first month of school next year, resulting in students losing school days and vital services at a very critical time—the beginning of the school year.
- Many of these students have parents who are fighting and serving overseas—their families are already making a tremendous sacrifice and it’s just not fair to ask them to make even greater sacrifices.
- The men and women in the military make a promise to defend and protect us and in return we promise to take care of their families and educate their children. They deserve better than having their education disrupted and compromised because of politics; they deserve nothing less than access to a high quality education.
- The education of military personnel’s dependent children is mission essential!
Senator Warner is asking other Senators to join him by signing on to a letter asking Secretary Hagel to ensure these furloughs don’t happen.
Click here to find your Senators’ phone numbers and ask them to sign on to Sen. Warner’s letter today!
Click here to send an email to your elected officials telling them to support our troops and reject furloughs to DoD-school educators.
High school math teacher and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel added his words of warning, stating:
I was deeply disturbed to learn that sequestration could interrupt the education of K-12 students in Department of Defense-run schools in the United States and overseas.
Shortening the school year by even one day could do irreparable harm to tens of thousands of students in DoD-run schools. In addition to classroom instruction, they would lose learning time essential to their preparation for postsecondary education and success in the global economy of the 21st century.
DoD-run schools provide an excellent education — students’ scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the “nation’s report card,” exceed the national average. During past crises, they stayed open because teachers and education support professionals were designated “critical” or “essential” — for example, the U.S. government shutdown in 1996; discussions of eliminating or curtailing services to reduce U.S. government spending in Congress these last two years; and the threat of a complete nuclear meltdown when a tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima power plant in 2011.
To ensure DoD-run schools remain open in the event of sequestration, I urge you to classify DoDEA school-level personnel as “critical” — the services they provide are indeed critical to the future of our nation. The parents of the children who attend these schools have pledged to protect our nation with their lives, if necessary. They deserve uninterrupted access to great public schools.
- DODEA teachers worried for students as furloughs loom (stripes.com)
- Sequestration Just Got “Real” For DoD Civilian Employees (wizbangblog.com)