Michigan’s budget crisis shows no signs of being resolved anytime soon. In the meantime, Michigan’s students face devastation because of sharp cuts in school funding.

Our students are not getting the education they need to compete for good paying jobs because Michigan’s budget cuts have taken away vital resources. Worse, it has led to teachers losing their jobs, a blow to hard-working educators and their families in our community. This coming year, Troy schools are likely to lose 37 teachers to layoffs. This is happening more and more across Michigan. Just read the headlines: 260-plus teachers could lose their jobs in Flint. More than 60 teachers face the ax in Saline. Marysville could terminate 20 teachers soon. And the list goes on and on.

In just three states – California, New York and Illinois – an estimated 60,000 K-12 teachers face layoffs. Waves of job losses in education are slamming Michigan, too, one community at a time.

Job cuts of this magnitude threaten to stall Michigan’s economic recovery and damage our educational system by requiring larger class sizes, fewer courses and reduced services for disadvantaged students.

When schools get cut, it’s more than just students, teachers and their families who suffer. The entire community pays a price, too. Businesses have long said they invest in communities with strong services, and that includes good schools. 21st century companies won’t invest in places where schools are crumbling and students, cramped into crowded classrooms, are denied a world-class education.

It’s clear we must do something about this epidemic of teacher layoffs that threaten our students’ and our state’s future.

That’s why Michigan’s congressional delegation should put partisan politics aside and put our students and teachers first, by supporting the Keep Our Educators Working Act. This important proposal will provide more than $749 million for Michigan to ensure that teachers can continue teaching and students can get a world-class education.

These funds can help keep current teachers employed, while giving communities the resources to hire new teachers to boost local education in early childhood, K-12 and post-secondary and related services. It can also help provide on-the-job training activities for education-related careers.

In this economic crisis, our students still need to come to school and learn. They still deserve all the support and resources of a good education system, and that includes enough teachers with the tools they need to succeed.

Keep Our Educators Working is vital to the standard-bearers of Michigan’s future, our children. It can help stem the tide of pink slips that are devastating teachers, their families and local schools.

Michigan’s recovery begins in our classrooms. Our students and teachers can help lead the way forward toward a stronger Michigan. That’s why it’s important for Michigan’s congressional delegation to support this important plan and join in the hard work of rebuilding Michigan.