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Education Insider May 2015

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May 22, 2015
May 15, 2015

May 8, 2015
May 1, 2015

May 22, 2015

Senate to Vote on ESEA in June: Urge More Opportunity for All Students

congressThe Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, is expected to be on the floor in June when Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess. Passed unanimously by the HELP Committee in April, the bill improves upon No Child Left Behind but still has room for takeactionimprovement. NEA members’ advocacy has moved the bill to a better place, but your continued voice is needed to help close opportunity gaps so all students have access to a well-rounded education, no matter their zip code. To help preserve our gains and strengthen the bill, click on the “take action” button and to contact your senators.

Our core goals remain:

  • A new accountability system with an “opportunity dashboard”
  • Less testing to give students more time to learn
  • Decoupling high-stakes testing and accountability
  • Ensuring qualified educators and empowering them to lead

Sequester Cuts Hurt Kids: Congress Needs a Budget Deal

budget dealDespite woefully low funding caps, House and Senate leaders have given indications they will attempt to move Labor-HHS-Education spending bills in the next two months. These bills will be based on the framework outlined by the NEA-opposed FY16 budget agreement takeactionwhich continues sequester-level cuts for education, and have led to allocations that would cut more than $3.6 billion from the Education funding measure. We continue to urge Congress to craft a bipartisan budget deal that would end sequester-level cuts to allow for needed investments in education programs like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start that target the students most in need. Click on the “take action” button to urge your members of Congress to end sequester cuts.

Cheers & Jeers

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Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Richard Hannah (R- NY) for introducing the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (S. 1379/ H.R. 2411), which would establish a partnership between state and federal governments to equip states to improve and expand high-quality, full-day preschool programs for four-year-olds with the goal of increasing school readiness.

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Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for objecting to Senate GOP funding levels that lock in sequester cuts. “We need a sequel to Murray-Ryan and we need it sooner rather than later, so we can write realistic bills that keep America safe and invest in our future,” she said, referring to the 2013 budget deal forged by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Representative Paul Ryan, (R-WI).

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Representative Sander Levin (D-MI) for making the following statement regarding H.R. 880, the NEA-opposed American Research and Competitiveness Act that extended certain corporate tax breaks: “This debate – purely and simply – is about fiscal responsibility. About taking one tax provision and making it permanent without paying one dime for it.”

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Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans for their party line vote reducing the Labor-HHS-Education funding allocation by $3.6 billion for FY16.

May 15, 2015

Make Your Voice Heard: Senate Votes on ESEA Loom


ESEA kids

The Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, is expected to be on the floor in early June, after Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess. Passed unanimously bythe HELP Committee in April, the bill improves upon No Child Left Behind but still needs work. This takeactionmakes the approaching Memorial Day recess (May 23 – 31) a critical time to engageall senators and elevate educators’ voices before floor votes. To help preserve our gains and strengthen the bill, click on the “take action” button and mail your senators.

Vouchers on the Move? Urge Congress to Oppose

On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the Washington, DC voucher program. Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) highlighted that while these vouchers provide scholarships to a small percentage of students our goal should be to ensure all students have access to a quality public education. Additionally, Megan Gallagher of the Urban Institute stated that research shows no difference in academic achievement between scholarship recipients at private schools takeactionand their public school peers. Vouchers take dollars from our public schools to fund private schools at taxpayer expense and deprive students of the rights and protections they are afforded at public schools. The Committee may vote soon to extend the DC voucher program. To help prevent the diversion of taxpayer dollars to vouchers instead of helping the millions of students who attend our public schools, click on the “take action” button to email your members of Congress.

Tell Congress Students Need Good Nutrition to Succeed

kid eating an appleBoth chambers of Congress have begun work on reauthorization of child nutrition programs. Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on these programs and the House Education and the Workforce Committee is following suit this coming Tuesday, with talk that both chambers may complete work later this year. NEA strongly takeactionsupports maintaining the existing guidelines for healthy school meals—95 percent of schools are in compliance and serving more healthy food thanever, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other priorities include adequate training, infrastructure and equipment for school food service workers; strengthening the summer program that feeds low-income children when school is not in session; and expanding the farm to school program. Click on the “take action” button to email your members of Congress in support of child nutrition programs that help ensure our students are getting the nutritious meals they need!

Cheers & Jeers

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Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for introducing the EMPOWER Act that would allow parents to opt their child out of taking standardized tests they believe are harmful, and to protect educators who inform parents of such policy.

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Representatives Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) for expressing their opposition to private school vouchers at the hearing on the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.

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Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) for continuing to push for the extension of the unsuccessful DC voucher program.

May 8, 2015

Tell Congress to Focus on Opportunity Gaps in Next ESEA

ESEA kidsThe Every Child Achieves Act, the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, is expected to be on the floor in June, after Congress returns from the Memorial Day recess. Passed unanimously by the HELP Committee in April, the bill improvestakeaction upon No Child Left Behind but still needs work. NEA is lining up amendments to strengthen the Every Child Achieves Act and close opportunity gaps for students, especially those most in need. To help preserve our gains and strengthen the bill, click on the “take action” button and email your Senators.

Senate Passes Budget Deal that Hurts Kids

budgetBy a vote of 51-48 the Senate on Tuesday endorsed the NEA-opposed FY2016 budget conference agreement passed by the House last week. A framework for appropriations bills later this year, the agreement continues sequester-level cuts for education and other non-defense programs, slashes Medicaid and SNAP, and sets up repeal of theAffordable Care Act. Yet it does not add a penny in revenue from corporations or the wealthiest among us. NEA continues to urge Congress to end sequester-level cuts while leaving room to invest in education programs like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start that target the students most in need.

Tell Congress Students Need Good Nutrition to Succeed

kid eating an appleAt Thursday’s hearing on child nutrition programs, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) committed to working together in a bipartisan manner to reauthorize the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which governs federal breakfast and lunch programs that together serve 40 million children. NEA strongly supports maintaining the existing guidelines for healthy school meals—95 percent of schools are in compliance and serving more healthy food than takeactionever, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other priorities include adequate training, infrastructure and equipment for school food service workers; strengthening the summer program that feeds low-income children when school is not in session; and expanding the farm to school program. Click on the “take action” button to email your Senators in support of these goals.

Cheers & Jeers

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Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Frank Guinta (R-NH), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Greg Meeks (D-NY), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Ryan Costello (R-PA), Lou Barletta (R-PA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Denny Heck (D-WA) and Mike Honda (D-CA), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Dick Durbin (D-IL),Bob Casey (D-PA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH),Chris Coons (D-DE), Mark Warner (D-VA),Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) for sponsoring the National Teacher Appreciation Week resolution honoring our nation’s teachers and commending them for helping to prepare our nation’s students for success.

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Senate GOP leadership for hurting kids by supporting the FY2016 budget conference agreement passed by the House.

May 1, 2015

Educators Keep Pushing for More Opportunity in next ESEA

esea-boardNEA’s board of directors came to Washington this week to lobby Congress, just as the Senate works toward floor action on ESEA in coming weeks. The bill passed unanimously by the HELP Committee improves upon No Child Left Behind, but still needs work. We need to keep fighting to close opportunity gaps for students, especially those most in need.takeaction

To help preserve our gains and strengthen the bill further, click on the “take action” button and email or tweet your senators. On Thursday, NEA board members sent more than 200 tweets to Senators urging them to #getesearight.

House Passes Budget Deal that Hurts Kids; Senate to Vote Next Week

By a vote of 226-197, the House on Thursday endorsed the NEA-opposed FY2016 budget conference agreement. The Senate is expected to vote on it next week. A framework for appropriations bills later this year, the agreement continues sequester-level cuts for education and other non-defense programs, slashes Medicaid and SNAP, and sets up repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Yet it does not add a penny in revenue from corporations or the wealthiest among us. takeaction

Click on the “take action” button and tell Congress to build on the FY2014-15 Murray-Ryan deal, and end sequester-level cuts while leaving room to invest in education programs like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start that target the students most in need.

Effort to Repeal Health Plan Tax Intensifies

CEA President Sheila CohenThe NEA-supported Middle Class Health Benefits Repeal Act, introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), would eliminate the 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health plans scheduled to take effect in 2018. “While we continue to support the Affordable Care A ct, the excise tax will disproportionally hurt women and older workers,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We should call this tax what it really takeactionis—an ‘age-gender-geography tax.’” Connecticut Education Association President Sheila Cohen, who joined Rep. Courtney at an event, noted the hit that educators will take: “The excise tax would lead to cuts in neededbenefits for the dedicated and committed educators who teach Connecticut’s children.”

Americans Need Degrees, Not Debt

Latechia MitchellNEA member Latechia Mitchell, a second grade teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland, participated in the second forum on student debt sponsored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Mitchell took out loans for $60,000 to get the master’s degree she needed to teach. “I am not sure if I had known how difficult it would be to pay back my loans on a public school teacher’s salary, I would have still chosen this career.” Stories like hers help NEA build support for congressional action to make higher education more affordable for students and families. Check out our Degrees Not Debt campaign!

Cheers & Jeers

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Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) for introducing the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for shining a spotlight on the need to make higher education more affordable.

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The 52 House Republicans who joined Democrats in rejecting an Appropriations amendment to weaken Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements; and the 49 Republicans who joined Democrats in rejecting an amendment targeting Federal employees who take part in “official time” for union activities.

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) for introducing an amendment to weaken Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, and Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) for introducing an amendment targeting federal employees who take part in “official time” for union activities.