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Federal Legislative Update January 2011

January 28, 2011
January 21, 2011
January 14, 2011
January 7, 2011

News from Capitol Hill. . .

1/28/11

Tell Congress: Investing in Education is an Investment in Our Nation’s Future


This week, the House of Representatives passed a resolution to slash federal funding. If applied to education, these cuts would result in a loss of over $9 billion for education programs, devastating programs like Title I, IDEA, and Pell Grants and leaving millions of students without the resources they need to succeed.

While the Senate is not expected to act on these cuts, this House vote was the first step in a plan to reduce funding even further, with even more damaging consequences for students, schools and our nation.

Investing in education is an investment in our nation’s future. Research shows an inextricable link between investment in education and economic strength. Investing in education:

  • Increases productivity and ensures a competitive workforce
  • Leads to higher earnings for educated workers, thereby generating higher tax payments at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Reduces dependence on public assistance programs
  • Raises wages across the board, as all workers, regardless of education level, earn more when there are more college graduates in the labor force.

Students get only one shot at an education. It is not their fault they are in school during a devastating economic crisis.

Take Action TODAY: Tell Congress to invest in education for our nation’s future.

Message for Policymakers: Listen to the Experts – Educators – on ESEA Reauthorization


In his January 25 State of the Union Address, President Obama called focused on education, encouraging increased investment in public education with a focus on career and college readiness. The President stressed a number of key education initiatives, including:

  • Replacing the No Child Left Behind Act with “a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.”
  • Making permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth $10,000 for four years of college.
  • Strengthening America’s public higher education system, with the goal of ensuring that America has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the end of the decade. Obama stressed the important role community colleges play in training workers for new careers.
  • Reforming immigration laws to ensure talented and responsible students can work in the United States after graduation.

Read NEA’s reaction to the President’s speech.

The President’s emphasis on education foreshadows a likely focus on ESEA reauthorization early in the new Congress. Many new Members of Congress have little expertise on education issues and all Member of Congress need reminders of how their decisions impact educators and the students we serve.

Take Action Today: Tell Congress that every child deserves a great public school, and that legislators need listen to educators if they want to learn how to make that happen.

Ask Your Members of Congress, “Please Step Into My Class Room”


Have you ever thought, "If my representatives in Congress spent just one day in my shoes, they would understand better what they can do to help America’s students – and where federal laws and regulations hamper rather than help?”

Here's your chance to tell them what they would see in your classroom or school, and how they can help your students succeed. Congress is getting ready to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Act, known as NCLB, so your input is timely.

Send your Members of Congress a letter right now. NEA will get copies of your letters and we will share some of your messages through our publications and web sites. Your letter doesn't need to be long, but it should include an experience or experiences you've had in school.

Here's one way to start:
"Dear ....,
I'd like to tell you about my school [or my students].

..."
And here's one way to end:
"The best way you can help my students succeed is to..."

You're the education expert! Share your knowledge with Congress.

Cheers and Jeers


Cheers to:

thumbs upSenator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) – quoted in the Associated Press, January 26, 2011, as saying “We need to get away from Washington announcing whether schools are passing or failing.”

thumbs upPresident Obama – who said in his January 25 State of the Union Address, “To every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.”

Jeers to:

thumbs downSenator Rand Paul (R-KY) – who sits on the education committee in the Senate, for introducing legislation (S. 162) to cut $500 billion in federal spending. The big jeer? His bill states that "All Dept of Education programs are defunded (except for Pell grants)."

 

News from Capitol Hill. . .

1/21/11

Tell Congress: Investing in Education is an Investment in Our Nation’s Future


The House of Representatives is poised to vote the week of January 24 on a resolution to slash federal funding. If applied to education, these cuts would result in a loss of over $9 billion for education programs, devastating programs like Title I, IDEA, and Pell Grants and leaving millions of students without the resources they need to succeed.

Next week’s vote is the first step in a plan to reduce funding even further, with even more damaging consequences for students, schools and our nation.

Investing in education is an investment in our nation’s future. Research shows an inextricable link between investment in education and economic strength. Investing in education:

  • Increases productivity and ensures a competitive workforce
  • Leads to higher earnings for educated workers, thereby generating higher tax payments at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Reduces dependence on public assistance programs
  • Raises wages across the board, as all workers, regardless of education level, earn more when there are more college graduates in the labor force.

Students get only one shot at an education. It is not their fault they are in school during a devastating economic crisis.

Take Action TODAY: Tell Congress to invest in education for our nation’s future.

Calling All Cyber Lobbyists! How Connected Are We?


As the 112th Congress begins with record numbers of new Members, 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 debates that impact education. 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.

Ask Your Members of Congress, “Please Step Into My Class Room”


Have you ever thought, "If my representatives in Congress spent just one day in my shoes, they would understand better what they can do to help America’s students – and where federal laws and regulations hamper rather than help?”

Here's your chance to tell them what they would see in your classroom or school, and how they can help your students succeed. Congress is getting ready to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Act, known as NCLB, so your input is timely.

Send your Members of Congress a letter right now. NEA will get copies of your letters and we will share some of your messages through our publications and web sites. Your letter doesn't need to be long, but it should include an experience or experiences you've had in school.

Here's one way to start:
"Dear ....,
I'd like to tell you about my school [or my students].

..."
And here's one way to end:
"The best way you can help my students succeed is to..."

You're the education expert! S hare your knowledge with Congress.

 

News from Capitol Hill. . .

1/14/11


We have all been shocked and saddened by the tragedy in Arizona that claimed the lives of so many innocent people and left others fighting for their lives. Our thoughts continue to focus on those impacted by the shooting, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a staunch supporter of public education and a true friend to educators and the students we serve.

In the wake of the shooting, Congress suspended all substantive business not related to the events in Arizona this week. They are expected to return to regular business next week. While we continue to grieve for the Tucson victims, we ask for your assistance on the following priority issues as Congress gets back to work.

Protect Health Care for Children and Families


As we reported last week, House leaders have announced plans to hold a vote to repeal the ENTIRE historic health care reform law enacted last year. The vote was postponed due to the Arizona tragedy, and has been rescheduled for January 19.

Repeal would take away:

  • Coverage from 32 million Americans, who would be uninsured without the new law, including many students in our classrooms;
  • The freedom from worrying about losing insurance or having it capped if someone gets sick;
  • Freedom from fear of insurance companies raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability;
  • Freedom from discrimination of denied coverage because you happen to be a woman who is pregnant or a child with disabilities;
  • The right for parents to continue to cover their children on their health policies until age 26.

Repeal would also explode the national deficit (increasing it by $230 billion in the first decade).

Repealing the entire law because will be devastating to millions of children and their families. This drastic measure is not the answer – even if there are some provisions people want to change.

Take Action Now: Tell your Representative to stand up for what is right – VOTE NO on repeal of health care reform.

Ask Your Members of Congress, “Please Step Into My Class Room”


Have you ever thought, "If my representatives in Congress spent just one day in my shoes, they would understand better what they can do to help America’s students – and where federal laws and regulations hamper rather than help?”

Here's your chance to tell them what they would see in your classroom or school, and how they can help your students succeed. Congress is getting ready to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Act, known as NCLB, so your input is timely.

Send your Members of Congress a letter right now. NEA will get copies of your letters and we will share some of your messages through our publications and web sites. Your letter doesn't need to be long, but it should include an experience or experiences you've had in school.

Here's one way to start:
"Dear ....,
I'd like to tell you about my school [or my students].

..."
And here's one way to end:
"The best way you can help my students succeed is to..."

You're the education expert! Share your knowledge with Congress.

 

News from Capitol Hill. . .

1/7/11

Protect Health Care for Children and Families!


The 112th Congress has begun and House leaders have announced plans to hold a vote the week of January 10 to repeal the ENTIRE historic health care reform law enacted last year.

The new law provides health coverage to an estimated 32 million Americans who were previously uninsured. Access to health coverage is critical to success in school. Students can't learn unless they come to school healthy. Families with access to regular medical care are more likely to keep the entire family healthy and create a better learning environment within the home.

Repealing the entire law will take away benefits from millions of people. This drastic measure is not the answer – even if there are some provisions people want to change.

Repeal would take away:

  • Coverage from 32 million Americans who would be uninsured without the new law;
  • The freedom from worrying about losing insurance or having it capped if someone gets sick;
  • Freedom from fear of insurance companies raising premiums by double digits with no recourse or accountability;
  • Freedom from discrimination of denied coverage because you happen to be a woman who is pregnant or a child with disabilities;
  • The right for parents to continue to cover their children on their health policies until age 26.

Repeal would also explode the national deficit (increasing it by $230 billion in the first decade).

Take Action Now: Tell your Representative to stand up for what is right – VOTE NO on repeal of health care reform.