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Letter to the House on NEA Positions on Amendments to the Student Success Act (H.R. 5)

July 18, 2013

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the more than three million members of the National Education Association, and as a follow-up to our letter on the underlying bill the Student Success Act (H.R. 5), we wish to share our views on selected amendments to H.R. 5 to be voted on this week. Votes associated with this bill may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 113th Congress. In addition, even with the adoption or rejection of the amendments below, NEA continues to urge a NO vote on final passage of H.R. 5.  

NEA’s views on select amendments are listed below in the order they were approved by the Rules Committee.   

  • Don Young / Gabbard / Hanabusa / McCollum #55 – Support. This amendment restores educational support programs for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. 
     
  • Cardenas #51 – Support. This amendment increases the authorization of appropriations level for English-language learners to accommodate projected increases in the number of students needing services. 
     
  • Luetkemeyer #32 – Oppose. States and local school districts currently have rights and responsibilities over curriculum and standards; the amendment is unnecessary. 
     
  • Jackson Lee #61 – Support. This amendment would focus funding on the most vulnerable student populations. 
     
  • Bentivolio #58 – Oppose. Representatives of entrepreneurial ventures are not key stakeholders in public education.
     
  • McMorris Rodgers #2 – Oppose. NEA opposes arbitrary caps on appropriate student assessments and supports empowering the IEP team’s recommendations on individual assessment decisions.
  • Reed/McKinley/Owens #53 – Support. Ensures that multiple measures are used to identify academic performance instead of only one-size-fits-all standardized assessments. 
     
  • Benishek #3 – Support. This amendment is consistent with the need to generate more data on career technical education programs. 
     
  • Scalise / Bishop #67 – Support. We believe that every school district should have comprehensive teacher evaluation systems designed with authentic teacher input and which provide meaningful feedback to teachers from qualified evaluators that helps improve teacher practice and thus improves student learning. We support the Scalise amendment not because we favor an absence of evaluation systems, but because we favor the use of multiple measures including evidence of student learning, evidence of teacher practice and skill, evidence of their contributions to the profession and ensuring the presence of teachers’ voices in the construct of the systems designed to measure teaching excellence. 
     
  • Moore / Wilson #29 – Support. This amendment ensures that high-poverty schools are not adversely affected by the change in the formula that allocates funds under Title II. 
     
  • Bishop #76 – Oppose. This amendment denies local school districts the option to apply for Title II funds directly should the state refuse to submit an application. 
     
  • Brooks/Polis #5 – Support. This amendment clarifies that computer science is a STEM subject. 
     
  • Polis / Petri #25 – Support. This amendment, among other things, encourages outreach by prospective charter school operators to low-income families and other underserved populations. 
     
  • Velazquez #68 – Support. This amendment ensures that applicants consider the needs of low-income students and parents not proficient in English. We believe meaningful communication between educators and parents, guardians, and caregivers who lack English language proficiency is necessary to assist in their children’s development, education, and the family’s integration into U.S. society. 
     
  • Mullin #65 – Oppose. This amendment would turn the Impact Aid construction program into a competitive grant. 
     
  • Broun #21 – Oppose. Focusing on salaries of former or current employees at the Department of Education does not advance, and takes away focus from, the educational purposes of the act.
     
  • Culberson #39 – Oppose. Federal grant funds not accepted by state legislatures would be directed toward deficit reduction instead of aiding the education of students that are most in need. 
     
  • Cantor / Bishop # 30 – Strongly oppose. This amendment would dilute the very purpose of the Title I program aimed at focusing already limited resources to target and counteract concentrations of poverty. A federal portability plan will create another system of winners and losers – not unlike an over-emphasis of competitive grants over formula grants; create a new administrative bureaucracy to track dollars; and would be especially problematic for rural communities where there are few if any other schools.  

We thank you for your consideration of our views on these select amendments to the underlying bill, H.R. 5.  

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations