Rep. Levin, MEA President Herbart, AFT President Hecker Host Day of Action for the Children Press Conference with Local Education Leaders on Lack of COVID-19 Relief for Schools

September 2, 2020
Press Release

WARREN, MI—Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09), Vice Chair of the House Education & Labor Committee, today hosted a press conference with a group of educators and school officials to highlight the dire circumstances facing Michigan schools that have not received enough federal COVID-19 relief funding to return students to classrooms safely or teach online effectively. Rep. Levin was joined by:

  • Paula Herbart, MEA President,
  • David Hecker, AFT MI President,
  • Mary Campbell, MEA Local 1 President,
  • Lincoln Stocks, AFT Local 698 President,
  • Ryan McLeod, Eastpointe Schools Superintendent,
  • Robert Roscoe, Eastpointe School Board Member, and
  • Ted DeChane, Physical Therapist, Mt. Clemens Community Schools

Following this call today with local education leaders in Macomb County, Rep. Levin will join Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Robin Kelly (IL-02) for a Midwest call on the same topic of school funding Thursday, September 3rd, at 11:30AM EST.

Members of the media should please RSVP HERE for dial in information or contact Jenny Byer (jenny.byer@mail.house.gov) with questions.

To watch today’s press conference click here and read excerpts below.

Congressman Andy Levin Press Conference COVID Education

“Our schools are struggling to reopen safely for the in-person education we all prefer because of the Trump administration’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Levin. “The U.S. crossed the six million case threshold this week and we’ve lost 184,000 fellow Americans to this virus. This is a tragic consequence of the administration’s failure to provide the public health leadership and resources necessary to stop the virus. The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress put their political agendas above the safety of students and educators. President Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos are bullying schools by threatening to withhold funding unless they reopen fully, in-person, no restrictions, without any regard for the level of community spread or other stubborn facts on the ground.”

“In Washington, President Trump and Republicans responded to the House-passed HEROES Act with proposals that contained no school funding. Zero. This is unacceptable,” said Paula Herbart, President of the Michigan Education Association. “Without the additional federal support many Michigan school districts will struggle to keep students and educators safe. Reopening schools is one thing. Keeping them open is another major obstacle.”

“It is irresponsible for the Senate Republicans and President Trump to block federal funds our children and young men and women need for their education and to make sure everyone is as safe as possible,” said David Hecker, President of American Federation of Teachers Michigan. “We applaud Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Levin for their leadership in passing the HEROES Act. The HEROES Act is an example of their concern for students, families and communities, and their knowledge as to what is needed on the ground.”

We’ve already seen the data that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting our Black and Hispanic families, which is a population heavily served here in Mount Clemens,” said Ted DeChane, a physical therapist with Mt. Clemens Community Schools. “We owe it to these families to not only provide a high-quality education, but also to take every measure we can to keep them safe from COVID-19. In order to meet the needs of these students, additional funding must be secured for our public school districts.”

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