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Crucial Time for ’10 Ed Funding

By Cynthia McCabe

With the 2010 education appropriations bill (H.R. 3293) now through the House, attention will turn to the Senate when it returns from summer recess and takes up its version of the bill this fall.

This week, NEA is rallying its 3.2 million members to call their senators throughout August and tout the importance of building on the wins for public education contained in the House version of the bill by increasing funding for Title I and other critical programs in the final Senate bill.

Those wins in the House bill, facilitated by NEA lobbyists, include restoration of an Administration-proposed $1.5 billion cut to Title I basic grants. The Senate bill partially restores the Title I cut by $800 million, but also allocates $700 million for school modernization projects that will ensure fewer students attend school in outdated, overcrowded, and unsafe facilities.

Among the victories in the House version are an increase in funding for Pell Grants for college students by $498 million, which  raises the maximum Pell award to $5,550. It also increases funding for afterschool programs, including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, by $50 million.

Funding for English Language Learner grants jumps by $30 million, and Head Start funding increases as well.

NEA scored a victory during consideration of the bill by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, when the committee rejected an amendment by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to increase funding for the NEA-opposed Teacher Incentive Fund (performance pay) at the expense of the NEA-supported Teacher Quality State Grants program that funds professional development and class-size reduction in all districts and states. The amendment failed by a vote of 13 – 16.

The House bill won approval on a 264-153 vote.  Individual member votes are available by clicking on the following link:  http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll646.xml.

--Carrie Lewis and Brian Washington contributed to this report.


RELATED LINKS

NEA Legislative Action Center