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Federal Legislative Update April 2010

April 30, 2010
April 23, 2010
April 16, 2010
April 9, 2010
April 2, 2010

News from Capitol Hill. . .
4/30/10

PRESIDENT OBAMA CALLS FOR HELP TO SAVE EDUCATOR JOBS!

President Obama has recognized the need to save educators’ jobs.  At the April 29 White House ceremony honoring the National Teacher of the Year, the President said, “Recovery efforts must continue as states face budget shortfalls that put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk, because we need—our children need—those teachers in the classroom.” 

The President is right!  Congress must act now to save educator jobs. 

NEA member Jeniffer from California shares her story:

I have been a teacher for the last 5-1/2 years. They have been the most challenging and gratifying 5-1/2 years of my life. This year, I was the recipient of a pink slip along with 315 other certificated and classified employees of our school district.  I went through the office the other day and a parent of one of my former students stopped me to ask if she could request to have her second son in my classroom next year. I had to tell her no.

I love my job, I will miss working with students, I will miss the challenge and excitement of finding lessons that help students learn new things.

However, this is nothing compared to what the students have to look forward to. Our district is shutting two schools down, moving 6th grade back to the elementary schools and combining all middle schools with their neighboring elementary schools to create K-8 schools. Due to the massive teacher layoffs, the schools will no longer look anything like what the students are used to seeing. They will not recognize half of the teachers that they were used to seeing and greeting every day. My school alone had 17 out of 30 teachers pink slipped. The students are confused. The parents are angry. The teachers are devastated. We are not only being pushed out into a job market that has non-existent teaching jobs, there are no jobs at all! We cannot even go back to school because California State universities and community colleges are so full and underfunded, they aren't taking anymore students. Programs have been cut in every level of education.

I don't want another career. I wanted to teach, it is my passion. That passion is being ripped from me. I will no longer be able to see students’ eyes light up when they "get it.” This to me is a tragedy.

Cyberlobbyists – The situation is urgent.  This is an education jobs emergency! The dire budget constraints of states across the country spell danger for public school students.   States are already making dramatic program cuts-to art, music, afterschool programs, and even shortening the school day and week-that shortchange our students and jeopardize our ability to compete in the global economy.  Layoffs lead to more crowded classrooms, and fewer counselors, nurses, reading specialists, and other critically needed educators who help ensure that every child gets individual attention.  Educators who lose their jobs won’t go to work, but students will still show up for school this fall.  They will find fewer teachers, bus drivers, and counselors, reading specialists or nurses – essential personnel to help provide our students with a quality education.  Students need individual attention, not crowded classrooms and fewer educators, to succeed in the 21st century and help keep America competitive. 

YOUR MESSAGE IS GETTING THROUGH! Senator Tom Harkin‘s (D-IA) Keep Our Educators Working Act (S.3206) would provide $23 billion to help stave off educator layoffs.  Thanks to your efforts, the bill now has 24 sponsors.  A similar proposal, the “Jobs for Main Street Act,” already passed the U. S. House of Representatives in December 2009.   But, to save jobs, the Senate needs to pass this bill NOW!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress that America will never get ahead by shortchanging our kids and underfunding our schools.   

  • Urge your Senator to cosponsor the Keep Our Educators Working Act and to push for its immediate passage. 
  • Urge the President to support immediate action to save and create hundreds of thousands of education jobs.
  • Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Local Jobs for America Act, which Representative Miller (D-CA) has introduced in the House.  Although the House has already acted, the Miller bill sends a strong message about the need to get an education job package done and enacted into law. 
  • Share your story.  Is your job in jeopardy? Have you already received a “pink slip?”  Tell us what is happening in your school and how it will impact your students. 
  • Read what your colleagues across the country are saying about layoffs in their schools. 
  • Forward this e-mail to at least five friends who support public education!

Additional Information:

Read the testimony of Iowa State Education Association President Chris Bern on “Education Funding and the Education Jobs Crisis,” presented to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, on April 14, 2010.   U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, also testified at this hearing and added his support for an education jobs bill. 

Check out NEA’s education jobs advocacy packet, including estimates of layoffs and program cuts by state, stories from real educators who have lost or fear losing their jobs, and news clips and videos from around the country on the education jobs crisis.  

See how many education jobs a jobs bill will save/create in your state.

See how much more money your state would get under the jobs bill than it would have a chance to “win” under the competition for “Race to the Top” Funds. 

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill. 

ESEA/NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHORIZATION: TELL CONGRESS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS

Reauthorization of ESEA has kicked into high gear.  NEA is urging Congress to work with educators to craft a reauthorization package that:

  • Promotes innovation and 21st century skills in public schools, using research-based approaches and strong collaboration among stakeholders;
  • Provides students with a rich, challenging curriculum that allows multiple ways to show what they have learned;
  • Elevates the profession to attract great educators and leaders for every public school;
  • Facilitates greater parental and community involvement and engagement in all schools; and
  • Champions adequate, equitable, and sustainable resources/opportunities for all public schools.

TAKE ACTION:

Additional Information: 

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 28th hearing on “Meeting the Needs of Special Populations.”  Materials address the needs of students with disabilities, English language learners, homeless students and students from migrant families.  

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 27th hearing on “Standards and Assessments.”  Materials include a one-pager and supporting documents on NEA’s position on effective assessment systems.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 22nd hearing on “Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child.”  Materials address issues such as student health, safety, and well-being; teaching and learning conditions; parental and community engagement; equity in resources and opportunities; and class size reduction.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 19th field hearing on “Innovation in Public Schools.”  Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 15th hearing on “Teachers and Leaders.”   Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 14th hearing on “School Turnaround.”  Materials include examples of successful collaborative transformation models and links to videos highlighting successful transformation programs.

***Congratulations to ISEA Member Sarah Brown Wessling, who was honored this week in the Rose Garden by President Obama as the National Teacher of the Year***

News from Capitol Hill. . .

4/23/10

HELP US SAVE MICHELLE’S (AND YOUR) JOB!!

NEA member Michelle from Kansas shares her story:

I love teaching. The constant challenges of public education create the most rewarding experiences in this ever-changing career.

Last spring, I resigned from a safe, stable district where I was a tenured teacher. This year, I teach in an urban high school where roughly 80% of our students are low-SES, about 35% are special education students, and the ever-widening achievement gaps threaten the very existence of our school.

This is it for our secondary students; they have to have a solid education in order to change their future. Every single day utilizes every ounce of my knowledge, experience, training, and creativity. Every single day is worth it. Education has always been the great equalizer, removing limitations and allowing room for life’s treasured possibilities.

Recently, our state legislature moved back the school notification of RIFs/nonrenewals from May 1 to May 24. Students will be out of school before I know whether or not I will be back next year. Five years ago, I was the district’s nominee for secondary Kansas Teacher of the Year in a different district. Next year, I may not be anyone’s teacher in any district.

And I absolutely still love teaching.

Cyberlobbyists – The situation is urgent. Hundreds of thousands of educators across the country have already received “pink slips” and more are to come. Talented educators like Michelle, who have dedicated their lives to the profession and are passionate about educating our nation’s children, are losing their jobs. Not one fewer student is coming through our public school doors because of the economic crisis. Children get only one shot at an education and isn’t their fault they are in school during this time of economic crisis. Layoffs, ballooning class sizes, and dramatic program cuts are irrevocably hurting our profession, shortchanging our students, and jeopardizing our ability to compete in the global economy.

THERE IS A SOLUTION! Senator Tom Harkin‘s (D-IA) Keep Our Educators Working Act (S.3206) would provide $23 billion to help stave off educator layoffs. A similar proposal, the “Jobs for Main Street Act,” already passed the U. S. House of Representatives in December 2009. But, to save jobs, the Senate needs to pass this bill NOW!

TAKE ACTION: The e-mail you send could help save your job or the job of a colleague!

  • Urge your Senator to cosponsor the Keep Our Educators Working Act and to push for its immediate passage.
  • Urge the President to support immediate action to save and create hundreds of thousands of education jobs.
  • Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Local Jobs for America Act, which Representative Miller (D-CA) has introduced in the House. Although the House has already acted, the Miller bill sends a strong message about the need to get an education job package done and enacted into law.
  • Share your story. Is your job in jeopardy? Have you already received a “pink slip?” The key to getting education jobs funding approved by Congress is demonstrating to Senators the huge impact not passing an education jobs funding bill would have on public schools and the economy as a whole. The more stories we can present to lawmakers from a cross-section of the country, the more successful we will be.
  • Visit our new Education Votes site to share your story and read about other actions you can take to make sure your voice is heard on the issues that matter the most.

Additional Information:

Read the testimony of Iowa State Education Association President Chris Bern on “Education Funding and the Education Jobs Crisis,” presented to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, on April 14, 2010. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, also testified at this hearing and added his support for an education jobs bill.

Check out NEA’s education jobs advocacy packet, including estimates of layoffs and program cuts by state, stories from real educators who have lost or fear losing their jobs, and news clips and videos from around the country on the education jobs crisis.

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

See how much more money your state would get under the jobs bill than it would have a chance to “win” under the competition for “Race to the Top” Funds.

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.

ESEA/NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHORIZATION: TELL CONGRESS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS

Reauthorization of ESEA has kicked into high gear. NEA is urging Congress to work with educators to craft a reauthorization package that:

  • Promotes innovation and 21st century skills in public schools, using research-based approaches and strong collaboration among stakeholders;
  • Provides students with a rich, challenging curriculum that allows multiple ways to show what they have learned;
  • Elevates the profession to attract great educators and leaders for every public school;
  • Facilitates greater parental and community involvement and engagement in all schools; and
  • Champions adequate, equitable, and sustainable resources/opportunities for all public schools.

TAKE ACTION:

Tell Congress what students really need to succeed.

Additional Information:

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 22nd hearing on “Meeting the Needs of the Whole Child.” Materials address issues such as student health, safety, and well-being; teaching and learning conditions; parental and community engagement; equity in resources and opportunities; and class size reduction.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 19th field hearing on “Innovation in Public Schools.” Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 15th hearing on “Teachers and Leaders.” Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 14th hearing on “School Turnaround.” Materials include examples of successful collaborative transformation models and links to videos highlighting successful transformation programs.

News from Capitol Hill. . .

4/16/10

Education Jobs Bill Introduced in the Senate: Tell Your Senators They Need to Act Now!


Cyberlobbyists -- We still need your help to get the funding necessary to save educators’ jobs and prevent students from losing good teachers and education support professionals.

Good News: This week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Keep Our Educators Working Act (S.3206), which would provide $23 billion to help stave off educator layoffs that are scheduled across the country for the next school year. A similar proposal, the “Jobs for Main Street Act,” already passed the U. S. House of Representatives in December 2009. Now, the Senate needs to act quickly to pass this bill.

At the same time, Representative George Miller (D-CA) has introduced legislation in the House that includes an Education Jobs Fund. Although the House has already passed such funding, Representative Miller’s bill – the Local Jobs for America Act (H.R 4812) – sends a powerful message about the need to see this assistance enacted into law immediately.

The need is urgent -- In many locations, educators are already receiving “pink slips” for the next school year and those who haven’t yet fear it may be just a matter of time. Yet, not one fewer student is coming through our public school doors because of the economic crisis. Children get only one shot at an education and isn’t their fault they are in school during this time of economic crisis. Layoffs, ballooning class sizes, and dramatic program cuts are shortchanging our students and jeopardizing our ability to compete in the global economy.

TAKE ACTION: The e-mail you send could help save your job or the job of a colleague!

  • Urge your Senator to cosponsor the Keep Our Educators Working Act and to push for its immediate passage.
  • Urge the President to support immediate action to save and create hundreds of thousands of education jobs.
  • Share your story. Is your job in jeopardy? The key to getting education jobs funding approved by Congress is demonstrating to Senators—who are extremely “budget deficit” conscious these days—the huge impact not passing an education jobs funding bill would have on public schools and the economy as a whole. The more stories we can present to lawmakers from a cross-section of the country, the more successful we will be.

Additional Information:

Read the testimony of Iowa State Education Association President Chris Bern on “Education Funding and the Education Jobs Crisis,” presented to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, on April 14, 2010. U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, also testified at this hearing and added his support for an education jobs bill.

Check out NEA’s education jobs advocacy packet, including estimates of layoffs and program cuts by state, stories from real educators who have lost or fear losing their jobs, and news clips and videos from around the country on the education jobs crisis.

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.

ESEA/NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHORIZATION: TELL CONGRESS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS


Reauthorization of ESEA has kicked into high gear. The Obama Administration has released a blueprint for reauthorization that NEA believes has significant problems and raises serious concerns. At the same time, the House and Senate have begun a series of hearings examining different aspects of ESEA.

NEA is urging Congress to work with educators to craft a reauthorization package that:

  • Promotes innovation and 21st century skills in public schools, using research-based approaches and strong collaboration among stakeholders;
  • Provides students with a rich, challenging curriculum that allows multiple ways to show what they have learned;
  • Elevates the profession to attract great educators and leaders for every public school;
  • Facilitates greater parental and community involvement and engagement in all schools; and
  • Champions adequate, equitable, and sustainable resources/opportunities for all public schools.

TAKE ACTION:

Additional Information:

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for the April 14th hearing on “School Turnaround.” Materials include examples of successful collaborative transformation models and links to videos highlighting successful transformation programs.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 15th hearing on “Teachers and Leaders.” Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

Read NEA’s letter and supporting materials submitted to the Senate HELP Committee for the April 19th field hearing on “Innovation in Public Schools.” Materials include NEA papers on elevating the profession and ensuring every child a quality teacher and links to articles and stories on innovative programs to ensure great educators.

 

News from Capitol Hill. . .

4/9/10


Will Your Senators and the Administration Fight to Save Your Jobs? Act Now and Tell Them Why Their Inaction Threatens Your Job!

Cyberlobbyists -- We need your help to get the funding necessary to save educators’ jobs and prevent students from losing good teachers and education support professionals. In many locations, educators are already receiving “pink slips” for the next school year and those who haven’t yet fear it may be just a matter of time.

Following Congress’ two week recess—which ends Monday, April 12, 2010—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin plans to make a strong push to get an education jobs funding bill through the Senate.  A similar proposal, the “Jobs for Main Street Act,” already passed the U. S. House of Representatives in December 2009.   The money is designed to stave off layoffs that are scheduled across the country for the next school year.

At the same time, Representative George Miller (D-CA) has introduced legislation in the House that includes an Education Jobs Fund.  Although the House has already passed such funding, Representative Miller’s bill – the Local Jobs for America Act – sends a powerful message about the need to see this assistance enacted into law immediately. 

The need is urgent -- Not one fewer student is coming through our public school doors because of the economic crisis. Students still need educators to be there helping them, inspiring them, and educating them every single day.  Children get only one shot at an education and isn’t their fault they are in school during this time of economic crisis.  Layoffs, ballooning class sizes, and dramatic program cuts are shortchanging our students and jeopardizing our ability to compete in the global economy.

E-MAIL YOUR SENATORS AND THE WHITE HOUSE!  The e-mail you send could help save your job or the job of a colleague!  

Urge the Senate and the President to take immediate action on a jobs package that includes an Education Jobs Fund – to save and create hundreds of thousands of education jobs.

Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Local Jobs for America Act.

IS YOUR JOB IN JEOPARDY? SHARE YOUR STORY!  The key to getting education jobs funding approved by Congress is demonstrating to Senators—who are extremely “budget deficit” conscious these days—the huge impact not passing an education jobs funding bill would have on public schools and the economy as a whole.  The more stories we can present to lawmakers from a cross-section of the country, the more successful we will be. 

Share your story so we can show Members of Congress and the President what an education jobs fund will mean to real educators, your students, and your schools. 

Visit our new Education Votes site to share your story and read about other actions you can take to make sure your voice is heard on the issues that matter the most. 

Additional Information:

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill. 

ESEA/NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHORIZATION: TELL CONGRESS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS

Reauthorization of ESEA has kicked into high gear.  The Obama Administration has released a blueprint for reauthorization that NEA believes has significant problems and raises serious concerns. 
Of particular concern are:

  • Continued emphasis on standardized testing and failure to allow for multiple measures of student learning
  • Teacher evaluations tied to student test scores
  • Limited and federally-mandated non-research-based turnaround models for struggling schools
  • Funding streams that favor some states and districts over others
  • No mention of parent or family engagement
  • Insufficient efforts to address inequity and gaps in opportunity, tools, and resources 

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY! Tell Congress what students really need.

News from Capitol Hill. . .
4/2/10


KEEP UP THE DRUMBEAT ON ESEA/NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND REAUTHORIZATION: TELL CONGRESS TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR KIDS


As Congress returns from recess, it is critical that they continue to hear from educators about ESEA reauthorization.   NEA believes the reauthorization of ESEA should:

  • Promote innovation and 21st century skills in public schools, using research-based approaches and strong collaboration among stakeholders;
  • Provide students with a rich, challenging curriculum that allows multiple ways to show what they have learned;
  • Elevate the profession to attract great educators and leaders for every public school;
  • Facilitate greater parental and community involvement and engagement in all schools; and
  • Champion adequate, equitable, and sustainable resources and opportunities for all public schools.

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY! Tell Congress what students really need.  Share your views – you are the expert!  Take NEA’s survey and tell us your priorities for ESEA reauthorization. 

CALLING ALL CYBER LOBBYISTS!  HOW CONNECTED ARE WE? 

As ESEA reauthorization moves forward, there has never been a more critical time to ensure that our best advocates -- real-life educators with hands-on experience working in schools across the country – are part of the debate.  Effective lobbying relies on personal relationships with policy makers, not only with NEA’s Washington, DC lobbyists, but especially with NEA members who can share personal experiences with Members of Congress. 


TAKE ACTION NOW

E-mail NEA at mailto:edinsider@nea.org?Subject=Member of Congress Contact if you have a personal connection with any member of U.S. House of Representatives or United States Senate.  For example, are you personally acquainted with any Members?  Did you grow up with or go to school with any Member?  Did you teach a Member of Congress when he/she was in school?  Did you work on a Member’s campaign?  Are you on his or her speed dial?  Please be sure to provide the Member’s name and state, your name and contact information, and a brief description of how you know the Member.   Together, we can work with Congress to ensure great public schools for every student.

HELP US SAVE YOUR JOB BY PASSING AN EDUCATION JOBS FUND!

As the Senate returns from recess, Senator Harkin (D-IA) will be making a renewed push for immediate action on a jobs package that includes assistance to help states create/save jobs – including education jobs.  This is a critical time for your Senators to hear from you!  They won’t understand how urgent the need is unless you tell them! 

An Education Jobs Fund will have an immediate economic impact, as saving an education job involves no wait time to draw up contracts or acquire materials.  It will also help keep pre-k through postsecondary institutions fully staffed with teachers, faculty, and education support professionals – thereby ensuring that class sizes don’t swell and students can get the attention they need -- at a time when many students are experiencing great stress. 

At the same time, Representative George Miller (D-CA) has introduced legislation in the House that includes the Education Jobs Fund.  Although the House has already passed the Education Jobs Fund, Representative Miller’s bill sends a powerful message about the need to see this assistance enacted into law immediately.  This message will be even more powerful if the bill has a lot of cosponsors.

E-MAIL YOUR SENATORS AND HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE TODAY!  The e-mail you send could help save your job or the job of a colleague!  

Urge the Senate to take immediate action on a jobs package that includes an Education Jobs Fund – to save and create hundreds of thousands of education jobs.

Urge your Representative to cosponsor the Local Jobs for America Act.

Additional Information:

See how many education jobs the House-passed bill will save/create in your state.

See how much funding your state will lose once monies under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expire, unless Congress provides more funding in a jobs/economic recovery bill.