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Federal Legislative Update March 2012

March 30, 2012
March 23, 2012
March 16, 2012
March 9, 2012
March 2, 2012

3/30/12 

THEY DID IT AGAIN: HOUSE PASSES BUDGET THAT ATTACKS WORKING FAMILIES, PROTECTS MILLIONAIRES


This week, the House passed yet another budget by Budget Committee Chairman Ryan (R-WI) that runs completely counter to our values as a nation.  See how your Representative voted.   

The Ryan budget puts the burden for the nation’s financial crisis squarely on the shoulders of the middle class and the poor, while failing to ask anything of those most able to contribute toward economic recovery.  The Ryan budget would slash education and other critical programs; dismantle Medicaid, Medicare, and nutrition programs; and repeal the landmark health care reform law (Affordable Care Act).  At the same time, it would give millionaires an average tax break of $150,000!  The plan ignores the needs of millions of struggling middle class families and those who have fallen out of the middle class.  It leaves the majority of Americans to fend for themselves, while pandering to a small percentage of wealthy individuals.  Read NEA’s letter opposing the Ryan budget.  

The House defeated budget proposals by the Democratic leadership and the Progressive Caucus that would have offered a different vision for our nation.  These alternatives presented a balanced plan that included revenue, asked those most able to pay their fair share to do so, and made needed investments in education.

Take Action Today:  Thank Members of Congress who voted against the Ryan budget and express your disappointment to those who supported it. 

NEA MEMBER CALLS ON CONGRESS AND SUPREME COURT TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE FOR CHILDREN


On Wednesday, March 28, NEA member Wilfred Dunn, a 5th grade teacher from Little Rock Arkansas, spoke on the steps of the United States Supreme Court at a press conference sponsored by a coalition of organizations supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  That same day, the nine Supreme Court justices heard arguments for and against the landmark law’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies that will bring health care to millions of low-income Americans. 

Dunn told the crowd about his students back in Little Rock and how programs like Medicaid are critical to the students and families his district serves, saying “Without Medicaid, many of my students would come to school sick and would spend class time at the nurse’s office or feeling miserable at their desks instead of learning.”  Read more about Wilfred Dunn’s eloquent speech

Medicaid, which serves one-third of our nation’s children, is not only under attack in the courts, but also in Congress.  The Ryan budget passed by the House this week would slash funding for this critical program. 

Wednesday marked the third and final day of oral arguments on the 2010 health care law.  The first day of arguments focused on the part of the law that would require most Americans to buy health insurance, the so-called “individual mandate.” If the individual mandate is struck down, however, the justices must decide whether the rest of the law can stand.  The justices will take a preliminary, private vote this Friday and then draft opinions, with a ruling expected by late June.

Take Action Today:

SENATOR HARKIN INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP MIDDLE CLASS


This week, Senator Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Rebuild America Act — a bill focused on the struggling middle class.  The bill includes investments in school and campus modernization, early childhood education, and professional development for teachers, and provides resource to save educator jobs.  It also includes a number of proposals to help middle class families with child care, health care, and retirement, and to protect workers’ rights.  In addition, the Harkin bill proposes to restore fairness to the tax code by ensuring that everyone pays his or her fair share.  Read NEA’s letter in support of the Harkin bill and learn more about the bill

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH), who at a hearing of the Committee on Education and the Workforce at which Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was testifying, raised serious concerns about the shift toward competitive grants like Race to the Top and away from funding targeted by formula to schools with the greatest needs

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Representative Danny Davis (D-IL), who wrote an op-ed this week calling attention to the troubling disciplinary procedures of Noble Street Charter Schools, which operate in the Chicago area.  Noble schools mete out severe penalties for minor infractions.  Last year, they suspended from school 51% of their students at least once.  Nearly all African American students — 88% — were suspended at least once, as were 68% of students with disabilities.

Jeers to:

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The 228 Members of the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the Ryan budget for fiscal year 2013 — choosing to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it while giving more tax breaks to millionaires. 

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Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN), who at a hearing of the Committee on Education and the Workforce at which Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was testifying, argued that federal investment in education has produced no positive results.

 

3/23/12

WHY IS PAUL RYAN AT IT AGAIN?


Last year, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) put forward a draconian budget proposal to slash education, dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, and give tax breaks to the wealthy. Despite the negative reaction to this proposal and the widespread backlash against his backwards priorities, Chairman Ryan apparently did not get the message. This week, the House Budget Committee approved a proposal by Chairman Ryan that once again puts the burden for the nation’s financial crisis squarely on the shoulders of the middle class and the poor, while failing to ask anything of those most able to contribute toward economic recovery. The Ryan budget would slash education and other critical programs; dismantle Medicaid, Medicare, and nutrition programs; and repeal the landmark health care reform law (Affordable Care Act). At the same time, it would give millionaires an average tax break of $150,000! The plan ignores the needs of millions of struggling middle class families and those who have fallen out of the middle class. It leaves the majority of Americans to fend for themselves, while pandering to a small percentage of wealthy individuals. Read NEA’s letter opposing the Ryan budget.

In contrast, President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal builds on his top priority to boost the middle class and promote economic fairness. The President’s budget targets education for the single largest percentage increase of any discretionary item in the entire federal budget.

The Ryan bill is expected to go to the House floor the week of March 26. Members need to hear strong voices of opposition. Tell them that the Ryan budget reflects the wrong priorities and takes us down the wrong path. We didn’t like it last year, and we don’t like it this year. Tell House members that we need a budget that ensures everyone a fair shot, makes the investments necessary for economic growth, and stands up for the middle class and our most vulnerable populations.

Take Action Today: Urge the House to reject the draconian Ryan budget and to pass a budget resolution that reflects the President’s emphasis on education as a top priority.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT TURNS TWO, STILL UNDER ATTACK


On March 26, we commemorate the second anniversary of the historic Affordable Care Act. This landmark law has expanded coverage to millions of Americans, including young adults who may now be covered under their parent’s health care plans, seniors who have better Medicare access to prescription drugs, and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Yet, the law is still under attack. This week, the House Budget Committee approved a plan that would defund the law. And, next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Take Action Today:

  • Tell Congress you support this landmark law.
  • Join Health Care for America Now (HCAN) at events in Washington DC during the Supreme Court arguments. Information about events is available on the HCAN website. NEA member Wilfred Dunn, a fifth grade teacher from Arkansas, will be speaking at the HCAN rally on Wednesday, March 28 on the importance of Medicaid to his students.

SUPPORT THE STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS ACT


College is the best investment in America’s future. It is fundamental to our economic growth. The strength of our nation depends on the strength of our people. Yet, far too many students graduate from higher education facing crushing debt. Total outstanding student loan debt is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year. Those buried under the weight of student loan debt do not buy homes or cars, start businesses or families, or invest, invent, innovate or otherwise contribute to economic recovery.

Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI) has introduced the Student Loan Forgiveness Act (H.R. 4170) -- legislation designed to lend a helping hand to those struggling under massive amounts of student loan debt. The bill would create a new “10-10 standard” for student loan forgiveness under which federal student loans would be forgiven after making payments equal to ten percent of discretionary income for 10 years. It would also cap interest rates on federal student loans. And, it would reward graduates for entering public service professions like teaching and firefighting by reducing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness requirement to five years from its current ten years. Read a summary of the bill.

Take Action Today! Sign a petition to the House, Senate, and President Obama calling for support of the Student Loan Forgiveness Act.

CONGRESS TO CONSIDER WORKFORCE INVESTMENT/EMPLOYMENT TRAINING PROGRAMS


Congress may soon take up reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) — the primary federal law governing provision of employment and training services to adults, youth, and dislocated workers. The law also includes adult education and vocational rehabilitation. This week, Representatives Tierney (D-MA), Miller (D-CA), and Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced legislation (H.R. 4277) to reauthorize WIA. Also this week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis testified before the House Education and the Workforce Committee about the President’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget request for the Department of Labor. In her testimony, Secretary Solis highlighted the Obama Administration’s belief that “WIA reauthorization presents a unique opportunity to promote innovation in the public workforce system, build on its strengths, and address its challenges. Through the reauthorization process, the public workforce system can be positioned to help even more workers gain a foothold in the middle class by ensuring they have skills to succeed. It also can assist more American businesses by giving them the highly qualified human capital that will help them succeed in the 21st century global economy.” NEA will be actively engaged in reauthorization efforts along with our coalition partners with an eye toward supporting community college efforts to provide workforce education, as well as efforts to help youth complete high school.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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Democrats on the Budget Committee who offered pro-public education amendments at the budget mark-up this week (all of which failed on party line votes):

  • Representative Mike Honda (D-CA), who offered an amendment at the Budget Committee mark-up to add funding back into the budget to protect critical programs such as Title I, special education, and Impact Aid, and to help turn around struggling schools.
  • Representative Karen Bass (D-CA), who offered an amendment at the Budget Committee mark-up to fund a one-year moratorium on the doubling of student loan interest rates (from 3.4 to 6.8%) scheduled for this summer.
  • Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), who offered an amendment at the Budget Committee mark-up to make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent and block cuts to Head Start.
  • Representatives McCollum (D-MN), Van Hollen (D-MD), Pascrell (D-NJ), Ryan (D-OH), Castor, and Bonamici (D-OR) who offered an amendment at the Budget Committee that would provide $30 billion to modernize 35,000 schools and community colleges.
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Representative Todd Platts (R-PA) and Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who circulated “Dear Colleague” letters to Appropriations leaders calling for as much funding as possible for Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs); and Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who circulated “Dear Colleague” letters to Appropriations leaders calling for as much funding as possible for education technology grants.

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Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who at a hearing on funding this week challenged U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan about the reliance on student test scores in teacher evaluation and his support for the publishing of teacher evaluation data in Los Angeles and New York.

Jeers to:

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, at a campaign stop this week expressed his support for the draconian Ryan budget plan, calling it “an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”

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The Republican Staff Director for the House Budget Committee, who in response to questions at the mark-up of the Ryan budget, downplayed the proposed cuts to Medicaid as “only a 30 percent immediate reduction.” One third of our nation’s children rely on Medicaid as their only source of health care.

3/16/12

 

INVEST IN EDUCATION: OUR KIDS DESERVE MORE THAN A TIN CAN BUDGET!


The House Budget Committee has scheduled a “mark-up” of a budget resolution for fiscal year 2013 for the week of March 19. The budget resolution acts as a blueprint for how federal funds will be spent in the next fiscal year. The budget debate is very important, as some in Congress are likely to propose significant cuts in spending that would impact education as well as programs that serve children, seniors and other vulnerable populations. Of particular concern are potential cuts to Medicaid, which serves one-third of our nation’s children, as well as proposed reductions in Medicare and Social Security benefits. NEA will vigorously oppose any such cuts.

NEA is urging Congress to provide increases for education along the lines of those proposed by President Obama, who made education the top priority among all discretionary programs in his budget request. Specific NEA priorities include increased funding for Title I, special education, and School Improvement Grants as well as funding to maintain the current Pell Grant award. Read NEA’s letter to Congress outlining priorities for education funding.

As educators working with students every day, you have a unique perspective critical to the budget debate. Make sure your Members of Congress have the benefit of your expertise as they craft the budget. Tell them what your students need to succeed!

Take Action Today: Urge Congress to pass a budget resolution that reflects the President’s emphasis on education as a top priority.

NEA PRESIDENT FEATURED AT INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT ON TEACHING


NEA President Dennis Van Roekel and Montgomery County Education Association (Maryland) President Douglas Prouty were featured panelists at the second International Summit on the Teaching Profession, held March 14-15 in New York City. They joined representatives of 24 participating countries and regions for discussions on the theme “Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders.”

President Van Roekel highlighted NEA’s three-point plan to strengthen the teaching profession and improve student learning. Unveiled in December 2012, the main elements of the plan are raising the bar for entry into the profession, teachers ensuring teacher quality, and union leadership to transform the profession. President Prouty discussed application of these principles in Montgomery County, Maryland. One of the nation’s top-performing school districts, Montgomery County is “on the leading edge of a wave of teacher unionism that emphasizes collaboration over conflict and makes school reform a top priority,” according to a recent Washington Post article.

Learn more about the International Summit.

HELPING RURAL SCHOOLS SUCCEED


Last week, the Senate passed an amendment by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) to a surface transportation bill that would extend for one year the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The Act offers a short-term solution to the forest county education funding crisis by ensuring a predictable payment to federally-impacted forest counties. The program has restored critical educational services for students in over 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools. It has prevented the closure of numerous isolated rural schools. Without the program, impacted counties would have had to lay off school staff and other public service employees, close libraries, curtail sheriff patrols, release prisoners from jails, cease search and rescue operations, and eliminate mental health care services.

The House is scheduled to take up legislation to address a long-term solution shortly. NEA is working with Congress to ensure that any long-term solution encourages collaborative decision-making with all stakeholders at the table, fosters development and economic recovery, and helps ensure these counties’ security and vitality into the future.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

 

 

 

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Representative Robert Dold (R-OH), who testified at a Budget Committee hearing on fiscal year 2013 funding in support of increased resources for STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Representative Dold said, “STEM education helps put people back to work and allows US manufacturers to hire American workers. Continued funding for these programs will enable our nation to produce students, and those looking to re-enter the workforce, with the skills and training necessary to excel in the global marketplace.”

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Republican Senators Scott Brown (R-MA), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who joined with Democrats in voting against and defeating an amendment by Senator Corker (R-TN) to the surface transportation bill that would have imposed a four percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending, including education. The amendment rejected a balanced approach to deficit reduction that addresses revenues as well as mandatory and discretionary spending in favor of just imposing more cuts to programs serving children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations.

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Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who sent out a “dear colleague” this week asking Senators to sign a letter to Appropriations Committee leaders in support of “the highest possible funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

Jeers to:

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who in response to a question at a campaign stop from a high school senior worried about paying for college responded, “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”

 3/9/12

WHEN DID YOU FIRST KNOW YOU COULD INSPIRE STUDENTS? HUFFINGTON POST SEEKS EDUCATORS’ STORIES


The Huffington Post is kicking off an exciting new project called "The Moment I Knew" -- a user-submitted video series where readers tell the stories of life-changing moments they have experienced. The Education section is asking for videos from educators on "The Moment I Knew I Could Inspire." This moment of realization could be with regards to inspiration in any aspect of education, training or learning -- whether it's teacher to student, mentor to mentee, friend to friend, etc.

This project offers a great opportunity for educators to tell their stories and to share their experiences in inspiring tomorrow’s leaders. To contribute, create your own video using YouTube and send the link to themomentiknew@huffingtonpost.com. More information about the project and how to submit your video can be found on the Huffington Post site.

CRITICAL BUDGET DEBATE STARTING: WEIGH IN NOW!


The House is expected to begin work on the budget for the next fiscal year (FY 2013) the week of March 12. But, right now, individual Members of Congress and their staffs are weighing in with their priorities for funding. All Hill offices need to hear from educators today about the importance of education funding.

NEA is urging Congress to provide increases for education along the lines of those proposed by President Obama, who made education the top priority among all discretionary programs in his budget request. Specific NEA priorities include increased funding for Title I, special education, and School Improvement Grants as well as funding to maintain the current Pell Grant award.

Take Action Today: Urge Congress to pass a budget resolution that reflects the President’s emphasis on education as a top priority.

SENATE HOLDS HEARING ON EDUCATION AND THE MIDDLE CLASS


This week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing on “The Key to America’s Global Competitiveness: A Quality Education.” In his opening statement, Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) framed the purpose of the hearing, saying “What our children and grandchildren learn today will determine America’s productivity in the future, and that depends on preparing them to compete in a global marketplace more competitive than at any other time in history. But while globalization and technology have dramatically increased the skills and qualifications required to succeed today, our schools are largely geared toward the assumptions of a 20th century workplace.” Read more about the hearing, including witnesses’ statements submitted for the hearing on the Committee website.

REMEMBERING REPRESENTATIVE DONALD PAYNE


This week, the country and particularly the nation’s children lost a great champion with the passing of Representative Donald Payne (D-NJ). Representative Payne had a long and distinguished career in public service, beginning with his work as a public school teacher. His experience in the public schools of Newark and Passaic gave him a unique perspective as a Member of Congress that was evident in his unwavering support for our nation’s students, educators, and public education. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee, he was a strong advocate on behalf of children, working families and senior citizens. Representative Payne’s priorities included closing achievement gaps, providing equitable funding for public schools and making college and healthcare more affordable. His calm and rationale voice and his tireless advocacy for the least fortunate in our nation will be greatly missed.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:
 

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Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), who offered an amendment to a surface transportation bill to extend for one year the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The Act ensures a predictable payment to federally-impacted forest counties. The program has restored critical educational services for students in over 775 rural counties and 4,400 schools and has prevented the closure of numerous isolated rural schools. The amendment passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 82-16. See how your Senator voted.

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Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), who at his hearing on the importance of education for global competitiveness said, “The great American tradition is to invest in the next generation, to leave our children a world that is more just, more advanced, and with more opportunity. Other nations have also identified this strategy as their own path to economic success….On the other hand, we in the United States have recently begun to expect less of our education system. How can we expect to remain globally competitive when we make choices like this? I hope that we in Congress can put aside our differences and take sensible steps that will give more Americans the opportunity to enter — or re-enter — the middle class.”

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Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who in his request for fiscal year 2013 funding made education a top priority, saying “I strongly support budget provisions that will strengthen our community colleges and help them establish programs with local manufacturers so our students can learn critical skills needed by employers and transition into quality jobs. Our budget ought to continue making higher education affordable for all, including students from low-income families, by sustaining Pell grants at least at the current $5,635 level for next year. In Fiscal Year 2013, our public education system deserves investments that enable teachers to prepare their students to achieve no matter what careers they pursue.”

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Florida Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford, who ruled that the state legislature's decision to turn to state employee salaries to help them close their budget gap was a breach of the state's contract with workers, an "unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation," and a violation of the rights of public employees "to collectively bargain over conditions of employment.”

Jeers to:

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Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who offered an amendment to the surface transportation bill that would have set an arbitrary cut of $10 billion to spending caps agreed to by Congress last year, resulting in more cuts to education and other critical programs. The amendment, which required 60 votes to pass, failed by a vote of 52-46. See how your Senator voted.

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Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who has offered an amendment to the surface transportation bill that would impose a 4 percent cut to non-defense discretionary spending, including education. The amendment rejects a balanced approach to deficit reduction that addresses revenues as well as mandatory and discretionary spending in favor of just imposing more cuts to programs serving children, seniors, and other vulnerable populations. The Senate has not yet considered the Corker amendment.

 

3/2/12

ESEA REAUTHORIZATION COMPLETES CRITICAL STEP IN THE HOUSE


On February 28, the House Education and the Workforce Committee “marked up” and approved H.R. 3989, the Student Success Act and H.R. 3990, the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teaching Act. The bills passed out of committee on a partisan vote of 23 to 16, with all Republicans voting to report the bills out of committee and all Democrats voting against.  NEA opposed the bills in part because we believe they walk away from the critical federal role in ensuring equity in education for all students and go too far in prescribing terms of teacher evaluation systems at the federal level — a role more appropriate for states and local school districts. Read NEA’s letter and press release opposing the bills. You can watch an archived version of the mark-up and read Member of Congress statements on the Education and the Workforce Committee website.

Prior to mark-up, NEA had several victories. With the help of pro-public education Republicans on the committee, particularly Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Todd Platts (R-PA), we were able to secure the removal from the bills of private school voucher language and to add privacy language to ensure the public was not able to access teacher's evaluations.  Despite these victories, NEA still opposed the final bill.

It is not clear whether or when the bills will move to the House floor for debate. In the meantime, much work remains to educate Members of Congress about the issues that matter most to students and educators.

Take Action Today:  As the House decides whether to move forward on the two bills passed by the Education and the Workforce Committee, we must continue the calls for a continued federal commitment to equity in education — so that every student, regardless of income, disability, or other factors, has access to a great public school. Contact your Representative today to give your thoughts about what will work best for your students and school.  

BUDGET DEBATES COMING SOON: TELL CONGRESS TO PROTECT CHILDREN AND THE MIDDLE CLASS


The House is expected to begin work on the budget for the next fiscal year (FY 2013) the week of March 12. The congressional debate will be impacted by the president’s budget proposal, which was released in mid-February, as well as by automatic cuts to education and other programs scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. Congress will need to decide whether to accept any of the president’s budget plan. And, they will need to decide whether to let the impending automatic cuts go forward. NEA will be working hard to ensure that Congress stops the automatic education cuts and makes education a top budget priority.

See what the impending cuts for Title I, special education, and other critical programs would mean for your state.

Take Action Today: Urge Congress to pass a budget resolution that doesn’t shortchange our children and reflects the President’s emphasis on education as a top priority.

MODERATE REPUBLICAN AND CHAMPION OF EDUCATION ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

Moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (ME) announced on Tuesday that she will not seek reelection this year. Snowe is among the last of the archetypal New England Republicans. Like her fellow Mainer, Senator Susan Collins, she is a moderate who has resisted the rightward-tugging passions of her party at most junctures, and provided a pivot in many a bipartisan compromise. “[W]hat I have had to consider is how productive an additional term would be,” Snowe said in her announcement. “Unfortunately, I do not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term.”

Senator Snowe is a long-time champion of public education and educators. She has been an unwavering supporter of repealing the unfair Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision, which cut or eliminate many public employees’ Social Security benefits. She is also a strong proponent of the E-Rate program, which provides Internet service to schools and libraries. In 2010, Senator Snowe cast one of only two Republican votes in support of an education jobs package, giving the bill the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, become law, and save over 160,000 educator jobs.

CHEERS AND JEERS


Cheers to:

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President Obama, who at the National Governors Association meeting this past week called on governors to “invest more in education.  Invest more in our children and in our future….We don’t have to choose between resources and reform; we need resources and reform.” The President continued, “Other countries are doubling down on education and their investment in teachers — and we should, too.”

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Representative Judy Biggert (R-IL), who prior to the mark-up of ESEA reauthorization legislation fought successfully to add privacy language to the bills to ensure the public cannot access teachers’ evaluations.  In addition, Representative Biggert offered an amendment during the mark-up to remove language mandating federal involvement in teacher evaluation — a role more appropriate for state and local districts.

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Representative Todd Platts (R-PA), who prior to the mark-up of ESEA reauthorization legislation successfully fought for the removal of voucher provisions. Representative Platts also spoke out during the mark-up against a federal role in teacher evaluation.  

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Representative Glen Thompson (R-PA), who spoke out during the ESEA mark-up about a teacher evaluation pilot program in Pennsylvania and expressed concern that the federal government should not be interfering with these efforts.

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Representative Tim Bishop (D-NY), who at the ESEA mark-up used NEA data to talk about the progress being made in teacher evaluations across the county and question the need for a federal role.

thumbsup Ranking member George Miller (D-CA), ranking member on the Education and the Workforce Committee, who at the mark-up spoke passionately about the federal government’s role in ensuring equity for all students as well as the importance of collective bargaining in teacher evaluations. 
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Representative Trent Gowdy (R-SC), who at the ESEA mark-up spoke eloquently about the importance of education, saying “My grandfather was a sharecropper who didn't complete the sixth grade....The reason I'm here today is because of education...Education is the magic that has transformed and continues to transform my family.”

Jeers to:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who, during the recent debate in Arizona said, “We have to stand up to the federal teachers unions and put the kids first and the unions behind.”

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who called President Obama a "snob" for urging more Americans to attend college.