• Sun. Aug 7th, 2022

Student & Educator Mental Health | NEA – National Education Association

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Aug 1, 2022

Resources for Local Unions

Bargaining for The Common Good 

Bargaining has evolved in recent years to have an even stronger community and student focus. As a result, NEA affiliates and employers can prioritize many of the mental health issues affecting both students and educators.  

Bargaining for the Common Good is an innovative approach to bargaining through which NEA affiliates use contract or advocacy campaigns to organize local stakeholders around demands that benefits not just educators, but also students and their families. Some sample provisions relating to social and emotional supports include: 

  • Establishing and providing trauma training to help identify trauma in students 

  • Create or expand crisis teams in every school building to monitor and assist with social/emotional health 

  • Increase staffing of counselors and nurses 

  • Ensure mental health professionals are able to perform their primary job functions instead of working on administrative duties 

  • Partner with local medical and mental health professionals to provide full range of services to students and employees 

  • Track long term effects of the pandemic on students including changes in grades, graduation rates, and absenteeism 

  • Prioritize stress counseling 

American Rescue Plan Funding 

Since the pandemic began last year, the federal government has enacted rescue legislation providing unprecedented levels of support for education. NEA believes that these funds should be used to advance equity, close opportunity gaps for vulnerable students, support the educator workforce, and protect the health and safety of educators, students, and their families. 

The American Rescue Plan includes nearly $170 billion in dedicated public education funding. That money can be used to reduce class sizes and modify spaces to comply with social distancing; modernize HVAC systems; hire more school custodians, nurses and counselors; and facilitate social distancing on transportation services with additional buses and drivers. The funding can also be used to add supports to address student trauma and learning loss. 

Whether bargaining is permitted in your state or not, it is vital that state and local education associations raise educator voices and assert their professional authority to ensure that all stakeholders, including educators, parents, and community, provide input and be a part of the decision-making processes. NEA created a full guide on strategies for locals to fully utilize the ARP funds effectively. 

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