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Letter to the full House Supporting the FY 2010 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill

July 22, 2009

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge your support for the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, scheduled for floor consideration later this week.  The bill makes critical investments in education, recognizing that such investments are critical not only to individual students, but to our nation as a whole.  Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress. 

The Labor-HHS-Education funding bill makes important investments in education programs that will help students succeed in school and prepare for the workforce.  Studies show that such investments result in higher levels of earnings for individuals and higher tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.  Individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to contribute positively to the economy and less likely to participate in social support programs down the road. 

We particularly commend the subcommittee and full Appropriations Committee for:

  • Restoring the Administration’s proposed $1.5 billion cut to Title I.  This funding will ensure that 20 million disadvantaged students in nearly 55,000 public schools receive the assistance they need to succeed.  It also helps set the stage for preventing a future devastating drop-off in funding for Title I after funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires in 2011.
     
  • Increasing funding for Pell Grants for a maximum grant of $5,500 ($200 increase over the 2009 level of $5,300).  This will ensure that the neediest students have greater purchasing power to access and complete the post-secondary education so critical to success in jobs with career potential and upward mobility.
  • Increasing funding for English Language Learner grants by $30 million (+4.4%, from $730 million to $760 million), thereby ensuring needed services for students for whom English is not the first language. 
  • Increasing funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers by $50 million (+ 4.1%, from $1.13 billion to $1.18 billion), thereby increasing the number of students who can benefit from safe, high-quality, after-school programs.
  • Increasing funding for Impact Aid basic grants by $23 million (+2%, from $1.26 billion to $1.29 billion).  This funding will help ensure that federally-impacted areas can continue to provide essential education services. 
  • Meeting the President’s request for funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The $11.5 billion proposed funding level, which builds on the $11.3 billion provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will result in a historic federal contribution level toward the costs of educating students with disabilities.
  • Increasing funding for Head Start by $122 million (for a total of $7.2 billion).  Head Start has a long history of success, providing high-quality early childhood education, health, social services, and parental involvement programs.  The funding provided in the FY 2010 Appropriations bill will help more students benefit from this proven program. 

We are also pleased that the bill would require rigorous evaluation of the Teacher Incentive Fund, a program that has thus far avoided scrutiny.  We do continue to believe that funding provided for this program would be more appropriately redirected to proven, underfunded programs that reach all states and school districts. 

Finally, we continue to be concerned about programs such as Teacher Quality State Grants, Career and Technical Education, and Education Technology, which are not receiving needed increases under this bill.  We look forward to working with the House as the bill moves forward to address these ongoing needs. 

Again, we urge your support for the FY 2010 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy