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AFSCME Supports Bill to Rebuild America’s Schools

Photo Credit: Fredrocko / Getty
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By AFSCME Staff Explore the Issues Education & Child Care

AFSCME supports legislation introduced in Congress to improve our country’s public education. Called the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, it calls for a much-needed $100 billion investment in America’s public schools.

It’s an important piece of the infrastructure investment this country badly needs and AFSCME strongly supports. Despite promises to unveil a grand infrastructure plan, neither the Trump administration nor the president’s allies on Capitol Hill have put forth a proposal to that effect. 

 “There’s nothing more important to the strength of our communities than the quality of our schools,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “But for too long, schools have been neglected, starved of the investments our children need to thrive.”

Students and education professionals across the nation learn and work in unsafe facilities without basic resources. Examples abound: Lack of proper air conditioning forced students in Ohio out of school last year; in Baltimore, boiler systems failed last winter, forcing students and teachers to sit in classrooms that never warmed beyond 40 degrees; the year before, thousands of children in Flint, Michigan, were exposed to lead in drinking water; and on and on.

The Rebuild America’s Schools Act would invest $100 billion to create over 1.9 million jobs by addressing critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools. The bill would:

 Create a $70 billion grant program and $30 billion tax credit bond program targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff.

 Leverage federal, state, and local resources for an overall investment of $107 billion, creating over 1.9 million jobs, a figure based on an Economic Policy Institute analysis showing that each $1 billion spent on construction creates 17,785 jobs.

 Develop a comprehensive national database on the condition of public-school facilities to provide much-needed insight into the condition of our public schools.

 Expand access to high-speed broadband to ensure that public schools have the reliable and high-speed internet access they need for digital learning.