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Letter to the House Supporting the Consolidated Appropriations Bill

December 10, 2009

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we urge you to vote YES on the consolidated appropriations bill for fiscal year 2010 (, scheduled for floor debate this week.   This important legislation includes critical funding for education and other priority programs.  Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 111th Congress, first session.

The investments in education provided in the consolidated appropriations bill are critical not only to individual students, but to our nation as a whole.  Investing in programs that help students succeed in school and prepare for the workforce results in higher levels of earnings for individuals and higher tax revenues for federal, state, and local governments.  Studies show that the economic benefits of education investments will more than recoup the cost of those investments. 

We are particularly pleased that the bill:

  • Fully restores the Administration’s proposed $1.5 billion cut to Title I. Restoring the full proposed cut will ensure that 20 million disadvantaged students in nearly 55,000 public schools receive the assistance they need to succeed.  In addition, this funding will help 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. 
  • Meets the President’s request for funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  The $11.5 billion funding level provided in the bill, 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.
  • Increases the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,500 ($200 increase over the 2009 level of $5,300).  This increase 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.
  • Increases funding for English Language Learner Grants, thereby ensuring needed services for students for whom English is not the first language.  
  • Increases funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, thereby expanding the number of students who can benefit from safe, high-quality, after-school programs.
  • Increases funding for the TRIO and GEAR UP programs to assist disadvantaged and first-generation students prepare for, enter, and complete college.

We support a robust international affairs budget and will continue to work with the Congress to ensure the funds necessary for educational projects around the world.

We are disappointed that the bill provides funding for the Teacher Incentive Fund, an unnecessary, duplicative program that serves merely to divert scarce resources away from proven, underfunded programs.  We are also disappointed that the bill continues funding for the District of Columbia private school voucher program — a pilot initiative that was has not been proven to improve student achievement. 

Overall, however, the bill provides essential resources for critical priorities.  We urge your support for this funding package. 

Sincerely,

Kim Anderson
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy