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Education Insider February 2015


February 26, 2015
February 22, 2015
February 15, 2015
February 6, 2015

February 26, 2015

Do you think ESEA is doing what it should to help students learn and teachers teach? Now is your chance to have your voice heard and shape the reauthorization of ESEA by takeactioncontacting your Representative.

Click the Take Action button or the link below to tell your Representative to Get ESEA Right.

Your timing is critical, the House will begin floor votes on amendments to ESEA as early as this morning, with a floor vote on the Student Success Act (HR 5) soon to follow.

Please take action now!

February 22, 2015

I was asked to reach out to you to share the testimony I gave to Congress earlier this month on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

I urged the forum to create an Opportunity Dashboard that would measure access to things like Advanced Placement classes like the one I teach.

I hope you will read my story and be inspired to share your own school and classroom experience.

This legislation is moving through Congress very quickly and it touches on virtually every takeactionangle of student learning and opportunity. Please click the Take Action button to contact your Member of Congress and share your own school and classroom experience.

Thank you for joining me.

- Michael

Michael Towne
AP Physics and Engineering Teacher
Citrus Hill High School

February 15, 2015

I have a pop quiz for you.

In 2001, before No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed, there were six federally-mandated tests per student. Guess how many there are now?

  • 6
  • 8
  • 10
  • 17

The answer: 17

Let that sink in for a minute…17 federally-mandated tests. And that's on TOP of all the other state and local assessments that are being administered.

But that's not even the real issue. It's the high stakes that are tied to those tests and the lack of attention on what really matters – the opportunities we're providing our students across ALL zip codes.

That is the real heart of the problem. Join me in speaking up about it now.

Right now, Congress is reauthorizing this cornerstone piece of education legislation – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

It's a HUGE deal that will dictate not only the amount of time students spend on testing, but also the resources like advanced courses, extracurriculars, and access to school counselors – they receive.

There really isn't any aspect of our students' educations that isn't touched by the current action being debated by Congress. That's why I need you to stand with me more than ever:

Will you share your school and classroom experience with your representative now? They need to hear from you before they pass this law.

Since being adopted, No Child Left Behind has made no real progress in closing achievement and opportunity gaps for our students. Instead, it has perpetuated a system that delivers unequal opportunities and uneven quality to America's children.

This system of unequal opportunity makes it impossible for educators to do what is most important: instill a love of learning in their students…to focus on the WHOLE child.

I need your help to shape this discussion. Please take a moment to share your thoughts and hopes for what your students need most.

I need you to stand with me and tell representatives to shift the focus back to student learning and opportunity, and away from testing, labeling, and punishing schools.

The more people who speak up, the more Congress will see that educators and voters like you are paying attention. They'll have to do what's right for all our students.

We must make sure Congress gets it right this time. Speak up here.

Thank you for taking action for our students.

!Si se puede!

- Lily

P.S. If you want to get extra credit, please ask your friends and colleagues to sign as well by forwarding this email and clicking here. Every single signature will count!

February 6, 2015

ESEA moving! House Education Committee votes next week

Both the House and Senate continue work on rewriting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Next Wednesday, February 11, the House Education and Workforce Committee will “mark up” the GOP majority’s bill. Introduced this week, the bill is similar to H.R. 5, the NEA-opposed bill passed by the House last Congress. The House plans to vote on ESEA the week of February 23.

The Senate will soon follow suit, as negotiations between both parties point to a HELP Committee markup in early March, with floor action to follow in March. NEA provided comments this week on the “discussion draft” released by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Act Now! Tell Congress: Bill must provide more opportunity for all, and time to learn

Join NEA in urging Congress to focus on three core goals for reauthorization:

  • Creating a new generation accountability system that includes an “opportunity dashboard” to ensure all students receive a quality education
  • Giving students more time to learn by reducing the emphasis on federally-mandated tests
  • Ensuring qualified educators and empowering them to lead

Congress did not listen enough to educators and parents when it wrote No Child Left Behind.takeaction Don’t let that happen again. Here’s how:

  • Click the Take Action button to email your members of Congress.
  • Sign the ESEA petition and share it with 5 friends.
  • Call Congress via NEA’s “Opportunity for All” hotline at 1-866-331-7233.

Teacher testifies on ESEA and opportunity for students

michaeltowneFor the second consecutive week, an NEA member spoke before Congress to share what a new ESEA should look like. Michael Towne, a California physics and engineering teacher, made an impassioned case for more opportunity for students during a forum hosted by Democrats on the House Education committee.

Said Towne: “Year after year, dozens of students graduate from our program and are accepted by major universities. How is this possible? The answer is surprisingly simple. With appropriate support, all students can achieve at high levels, regardless of what their backgrounds might suggest. If we support the students who need it most, they will more than repay our efforts with their own.”

Last week, Rachelle Moore, a National Board Certified teacher from Seattle testified before the Senate HELP Committee.

President’s budget calls for end to sequester cuts

President Obama released his fiscal year 2016 budget this week with a takeactionstrong call to reverse the austerity approach of recent years and fully replace damaging sequester cuts that eliminated Head Start seats and caused class sizes to rise. The president’s budget calls for a $3.6 billion increase in education funding, including a $1 billion hike for Title I. NEA applauded the priorities on formula grant programs, as well as early childhood education and college affordability. Congress will now begin putting together its budget for the upcoming year. NEA is urging an end to sequester cuts and an investment in programs like Title I and IDEA.

Cheers & Jeers


Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and all 46 Senate Democrats who voted to block the House-passed Department of Homeland Security funding bill because it includes provisions to stop President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.


Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) for stressing how important it is to listen to teachers during the ESEA reauthorization process, reinforcing the testimony of teacher Rachelle Moore, an NEA member, at the HELP Committee hearing.


Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Aaron Shock (R-IL) and Sam Graves (R-MO) for signing on as co-sponsors of the Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act (H.R. 452).


Representatives Brian Higgins (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), John Delaney (D-MD), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Sander Levin (D-MI) for signing on as co-sponsors of the NEA-supported IDEA Full Funding Act (H.R. 551)


Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for attempting to block a confirmation vote in Judiciary Committee for President Obama’s Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.