U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has spoken about the American Jobs Act ahead of Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton, who is participating in the Qualcomm Wireless EdTech Conference at Friday, Oct. 21, at the Capitol Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.
They aim that the American Jobs Act will benefit the country's public schools and provide invaluable resources during tough budget times.
Shelton will participate in a panel discussion titled "The Federal Role in Educational Improvement: Meeting Urgent Needs Given Diminishing Resources."
Shelton will provide an overview of the Department's priorities and innovation agenda, and the need for passage of the American Jobs Act, the press release explains.
He also wants to discuss the importance of developing partnerships to accelerate innovation in education, and identifying opportunities for collaborative efforts that will put innovation into widespread practice.
The American Jobs Act will invest in retrofitting at least 35,000 public schools across the country, supporting new science labs, Internet-ready classrooms and school renovations in both rural and urban communities, the Department says.
These investments are aimed to give American students the tools they need to prepare for the 21st century economy and compete with students from around the world.
"As a country, we desperately need this legislation," Secretary Duncan said. "America stands at a crossroads: we can roll the dice and hope to educate America's kids amid teacher layoffs and dilapidated school buildings, or we use this opportunity to give our students the world-class education they deserve—with a strong teacher corps working in modern facilities. We need it for our kids. We need it for our teachers. We need it to put people to work. And, we need it to ensure a bright future of our nation."
Within Washington, D.C. public schools, the problem of aging school facilities was recently spotlighted in a survey by the Council of the Great City Schools. According to the report, the District needs substantial resources including:
$2.2 billion for renovation, repair and modernization of its schools. And,
$150 million to pay for deferred maintenance at schools.
Overall, the American Jobs Act plan will invest $30 billion in enhancing the condition of schools — with $25 billion going to K-12 schools for repair, renovation and modernization.
While the bill would help finance long overdue repairs, it would also create needed jobs and help put hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work, the press release says.