The Players Coalition is calling on Congress to pass a bill addressing education inequality that has been highlighted and expanded by the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter, the players write that without Congressional action, education inequality for prekindergarten through high school students is "likely to be compounded in the coming year and beyond as state and local budgets deteriorate because of increased state and local COVID-related costs and steeply declining revenues due to COVID-related economic disruption."
The players promoted a pair of bills, one passed by the House of Representatives in May and one proposed in the Senate in late June, that would provide billions of dollars in education funding.
Among the provisions the players are seeking in an education package are significant additional funding for elementary and secondary education, continued legal protections for marginalized students and addressing digital access for students.
COVID-19 exacerbated systemic problems in our schools. Absent significant Congressional action, education inequities are likely to continue growing. Today, we wrote to Senate leadership urging them to pass a COVID-19 relief package with crucial education provisions for our youth. pic.twitter.com/eqUYswaaoy— PlayersCoalition (@playercoalition) July 17, 2020
The Players Coalition tweeted a copy of the letter Friday morning. It is addressed to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and signed by nearly 200 current and former professional athletes.
"As Players Coalition members, we understand the importance of teamwork and never giving up -- especially when prospects are bleak," the players wrote. "We urge the Senate to work with the House to team up to enact these provisions, because giving up is not an option for our children of color and low-income children, or the future of our nation."
McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is poised to release the Republicans' $1 trillion coronavirus relief package as soon as next week. That plan is a counteroffer to the sweeping $3 trillion proposal that House Democrats approved in May, before the latest spike in coronavirus cases and hot spots.
The Players Coalition was founded in 2017. Its stated goal is "making an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education, and allocation of resources."
In June, the Players Coalition gathered more than 1,400 signatures for a letter to Congress supporting a bill to end qualified immunity, which makes it difficult to sue police officers for brutality.