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OEA urges swift Senate passage of Build Back Better act

[November 19, 2021] The Ohio Education Association (OEA) applauds the members of the US House of Representatives who supported the Biden administration’s Build Back Better plan in Friday morning’s vote. This visionary legislation will be transformative for families across the country and here in Ohio, and OEA is calling on the US Senate to pass this package as soon as possible to deliver the many major benefits to Ohio’s students and public schools.

“The Build Back Better framework will change lives here in Ohio by making enormous strides toward ending child hunger and poverty, addressing a growing nationwide teacher shortage, and investing in early education, job training, and higher education programs to allow all of Ohio’s students to pursue their dreams, regardless of where they’re from or what they look like,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said. “Ohio’s 1.7 million public school students can’t afford for the Senate to wait to act on this plan.”

Among other benefits included in the Build Back Better framework, it will:

  • Enable Ohio to expand access to free, high-quality preschool to more than 151,420 additional 3- and 4-year-olds per year and increase the quality of preschool for children who are already enrolled
  • Increase maximum Pell Grant awards by $550 for students at public and private non-profit institutions, supporting the 172,095 students in Ohio who rely on Pell, to help unlock the opportunities of an education beyond high school
  • Invest in Ohio’s 7 minority-serving institutions and the students they serve, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs)
  • Ensure that the nutritional needs of Ohio’s children are met by expanding access to free school meals to an additional 153,000 students during the school year and providing 844,631 students with resources to purchase food over the summer
  • Provide opportunities for 43 public community colleges in Ohio to benefit from grants to develop and deliver innovative training programs and expand proven ones
  • “A high-quality preschool education lays the foundation for a lifetime of success for our students,” said Traci Arway, a special education teacher in Columbus City Schools. “I am beyond excited to know that Ohio will receive funding through the Build Back Better framework to increase early childhood education for our youngest Ohioans!”

“Teachers know that our students need to have their nutritional needs met to be focused in the classroom. The Build Back Better framework expands free school meals so Ohio’s students can focus on their schoolwork instead of how they’ll get their next meal,” said Kara Jankowski, who teaches English Language Learners in West Carrollton City Schools.

“As of now, only about 31% of the three- and four-year-olds in Ohio have access to publicly-funded preschool, and it costs nearly $8,600 per year for those families that cannot access a publicly funded program. This is unacceptable,” said Larry Carey, a preschool teacher in Columbus. “The Senate must do its part and pass the Build Back Better act now.”

“The Build Back Better framework is a smart investment in our children, our state, and our future,” DiMauro said. “The Senate must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a better tomorrow for all of us.”

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2021 Press Releases