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NEA Letter on Amendments to HR 5

February 26, 2015

Dear Representative: 

On behalf of the three million members of the National Education Association and the students they serve, 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 114th Congress. Even with the adoption or rejection of amendments below, NEA continues to urge you to VOTE NO on final passage of H.R. 5.  

NEA’s priority amendments:

  • Rep. Goodlatte (#74) - Support. Allows flexibility to states to administer locally-designed assessments to students for accountability purposes.
  • Reps. Bonamici / Costello (#104)—Support. Allows state education agencies and other eligible entities to use Local Academic Flexible Grant funds to audit and streamline assessment systems, eliminate unnecessary assessments, and improve the use of assessments. 
  • Rep. Duffy / Wilson (#56)—Support.  Requires school districts to be transparent in providing information to parents at the beginning of the school year on mandated assessments their child will have to take during the school year and any school district policy on assessment participation.
  • Reps. Rodney Davis / Joyce (#119) - Support. Gives certainty to local and state entities that current collective bargaining agreements must remain in place. A clause currently exists within Title I of the existing Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure that nothing in federal law can be construed to upending a state or local's collective bargaining law, memorandum of understanding and other agreements. This amendment does not expand any collective bargaining rights that have been in current law.
  • Reps. Quigley / McKinley / Serrano (#96)—Support. Restores appropriate qualifications and standards for paraeducators, who help to serve students most in need.  

NEA’s views on select amendments are listed below in alphabetical order:    

  • Rep. Barletta (#52) - Support. States that if school districts use Title I money for after school, before school, or summer school activities, they would be required to describe those activities in their local plans.
  • Rep. Brownley (#106) - Support. Creates a grant program for states to create or expand bi-literacy seal programs to recognize student proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in both English and a second language for graduating high school seniors.
  • Rep. Carson (#54)—Support. The amendment supports development of a national research strategy to ensure that students, particularly at risk students, have effective teachers and are being prepared for the future.
  • Reps. Castro / Stivers (#71) – Support. Would improve college and career readiness for homeless youth by requiring the state to include in the state plan a description of how such youth would receive assistance from counselors to advise, prepare, and improve college readiness, as well as a description of the procedures the state education agency would use to improve the counselor to student ratio.
  • Rep. Katherine Clark (#25) – Support. Clarifies that early childhood education-focused professional development is an acceptable use of funds.
  • Rep. Cohen (#75) - Support. Allows Title II funds to be used for restorative justice and training in conflict resolution.
  • Reps. Davis / Dold / Polis (#3) – Support. Clarifies the definition of ‘school leader’ such that it explicitly refers to a school principal as opposed to an off-site administrator.
  • Reps. Delaney / Young / Polis (#63) – Oppose. Creates a potential for money to be diverted away to private investors or directed towards for-profit entities which could lead to an increase of corporations in education.
  • Reps. DeSaulnier (#101) – Support. Requires LEAs to develop agreements with Head Start and other agencies to carry out early childhood education activities.
  • Rep. Fudge (#20) – Support. Ensures continued state investment in educating students by requiring states to demonstrate that the level of state and local funding remains constant from year to year.
  • Rep. Grayson (#8) – Support. Requires the Secretary of Education to conduct an assessment of the impact of school start times on student health, well-being, and performance.
  • Rep. Grothman (#128) – Oppose. This amendment would unnecessarily shorten the reauthorization period from 2021 to 2018.
  • Rep. Hurd (#114)—Support. Expresses the sense of Congress that students’ personally identifiable information is important to protect as applied to current law and this Act.
  • Rep. Jackson Lee (#93) - Support. Supports accountability-based programs and activities that are designed to enhance school safety, which may include research-based bullying prevention, cyber-bullying prevention, and disruption of recruitment activities by groups or individuals involved in violent extremism, and gang prevention programs as well as intervention programs regarding bullying.
  • Rep. Jeffries (#88) – Support. Ensures that teachers, parents and other educational professionals receive education on the harms of copyright piracy in order to further educate students to that end.
  • Rep. Robin Kelly (#35) – Support. Requires Statewide Family Engagement Centers to conduct training programs in the community to improve adult literacy, including financial literacy.  
  • Reps. Kennedy/McGovern/ Moulton/ Capuano/ Neal/ Keating/ Lynch/Wilson (# 67) Support. Authorizes the STEM Gateways grant program as an allowable use of flexible funding received by state educational agencies. States could award grants to LEAs and qualified partner organizations to support the success of women, minorities, and low-income students in rigorous STEM academics.
  • Reps. Langevin / Thompson (PA) (#5) – Support. Requires states applying for funds under Title I to show how they would use the funds to provide apprenticeships that offer academic credit, and how they would use the funds to provide comprehensive career counseling to the students.
  • Rep. Lawrence (#44) – Support. Requires that the Secretary of Education disapprove of any State plan that fails to, in consultation with State and local education agencies, demonstrate that there is a separate reporting of academic assessments for foster youth.
  • Rep. Loebsack (#62) - Support. Supports the expansion of the use of digital learning to partnerships to implement and evaluate the results of technology-based learning practices, strategies, tools, or programs at rural schools.
  • Rep. McKinley (#98) – Support. Establishes a state-led definition of “workforce critical subjects,” and requires states to provide an explanation of the subjects they identify as “workforce critical” with input from the appropriate stakeholders such as educators.
  • Rep. Meng (# 24) – Support. Authorizes funds for the Secretary of Education to provide grants for: early-childhood education scholarships, professional development and licensing credentials, or increased compensation for educators who have attained specific qualifications.
  • Reps. Messer / Polis (#126) – Oppose. The amendment neglects the fact that states accepting federal charter expansion money are not obligated to subject their charter sectors to key transparency and accountability provisions taxpayers expect from all other schools they fund, including open meeting requirements and conflict of interest regulations.
  • Reps. Moore (WI) / Davis (IL) / Wilson (FL) (#40) – Support. Delays implementation of the new Title II formula in HR 5 until the Secretary of Education determines that the implementation will not reduce funding for schools serving high percentages of students in poverty.
  • Reps. Nolan / McCollum / Kirkpatrick / Lujan / Ruiz (#78) – Support. Amends the current stated policy of the United States with respect to the education of Indian children to ensure they do not attend school in buildings that are dilapidated or deteriorating, as part of the unique and continuing trust relationship with, and responsibility to, the Indian people.
  • Rep. Polis (#117) – Support. Allows grants to be used for the creation and distribution of open access textbooks and open educational resources.
  • Reps. Polis / Rokita (#124) – Support. Encourages collaboration and sharing of best practices between charter schools and local education agencies.
  • Reps. Schrader / Polis (#51) – Support. Establishes a pilot program to support career and technical education programs that were impacted or eliminated due to recent economic events.
  • Rep. Thompson (MS) (#2) – Support. Delays implementation of HR 5 until the Secretary of Education determines that its enactment will not reduce the college and career readiness of disadvantaged populations.
  • Rep. Wilson (#50) – Support. Provides for school dropout prevention and reentry and provides grants to raise academic achievement levels for all students.
  • Rep. Wilson (#110) – Support. Provides for Intensive Care Reading Labs and for specialization of school staffing for basic skills in language arts, mathematics, and science in grades 1-3.
  • Rep. Zeldin (#111) - Oppose. Allows a State to withdraw from the Common Core Standards or any other specific standards.  

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

Sincerely, 

Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations