We as governors — along with decision makers in state legislatures, school boards, workforce boards, and city and county governments — assess each day the growing damage of COVID-19 to our economic, educational, social and health care systems. We are especially concerned about the millions of young Americans who have been away from school for many weeks and graduating seniors who seek to enter the workforce and higher education.
The latest national data highlights the growing risk that we may lose a critical part of our next generation.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell noted that 40% of all households earning $40,000 or less lost their jobs in March. Further, recent surveys of teachers reveal increases in truancy (27%) and dramatic declines in student engagement — up to 50% or higher in some cases, especially among poor and vulnerable youth, as the school year came to a close.
We are honored