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Education Insider June 2015

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June 26, 2015
June 19, 2015
June 12, 2015
June 5, 2015

June 26, 2015

Senate Schedules Floor Votes on ESEA Starting July 7

Lily at National Press ClubMajority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Wednesday that the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, will be the first bill taken up after the week-long July 4 recess. The announcement came a day after 10 major education groups, including NEA, held a joint press conference urging floor votes on the bipartisan bill that was approved unanimously by the HELP takeactionCommittee. S. 1177 improves upon No Child Left Behind but still needs work, especially with regard to closing opportunity gaps so all students have access to a well-rounded education, no matter their zip code. Now is the time to make sure your voice is heard! To help preserve the gains already made and strengthen the bill, click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to put kids first.

Tell Congress We Need a Bipartisan Budget Deal

budget dealAs expected, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in party-line votes approved the NEA-opposed LHHS/Education takeactionFY2016 funding bills that deeply cut education—a prime example of why we need a bipartisan budget deal to raise overall funding levels. NEA continues to call for an end to sequester-level cuts and needed investments in programs that target the students most in need. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to make a bipartisan budget deal.  

Urge Your Senators and Representative to Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act

voting rightsThe Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867), takeactionintroduced this week in both chambers, strengthens vital provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that were undone two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby v. Holder. The bill is a good start to strengthening the law’s backbone and protections. Click on the “take action” button to urge your senators and representative to support the bill.

Cheers and Jeers

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray D-WA) for scheduling floor debate on the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, starting Tuesday, July 7.

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Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for introducing the bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act (S. 1651), which would fully repeal GPO and WEP after December 2015, and Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), David Vitter (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Dean Heller (R-NV) for co-sponsoring the bill.

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Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD), James Clyburn (D-SC), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and Joseph Crowley (D-NY) for their letter urging GOP leaders to enter bipartisan budget negotiations to end the sequester and avoid a government shutdown: “For too long, the draconian cuts of the sequester have strangled our investments to keep America Number One in the global economy and to ensure our national security. We must find a balanced and fiscally responsible way to lift the sequester and invest in a stronger defense, better infrastructure and bigger paychecks for America’s hard-working families.”

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Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons and Reps. John Lewis (D-GA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA) for introducing the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 to strengthen vital provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 undone by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.

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Representatives David Reichert (R-WA), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Bob Dold (R-IL), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), and David Valadeo (D-CA) for introducing the Educator Tax Relief Act (H.R. 2940) to improve and make permanent the annual $250 educator tax deduction.

June 19, 2015

Tell the Senate to Put Kids First and Reauthorize ESEA

esea girlIn an abrupt turnaround, the Senate on Thursday announced that instead of bringing the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) to the floor as planned—the ESEA rewrite approved 22-0 by thetakeaction HELP Committee back in April—it will once again take up controversial free trade legislation passed by the House. No Child Left Behind, the current version of ESEA, expired nearly eight years ago. Click on the “take action” button to tell Congress to put kids first and take up S. 1177 NOW!

Tell Congress to Invest in Students and Education

budget cutsFunding for the U.S. Department of Education was slashed by an additional $2.8 billion in the FY2016 funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The full takeactionHouse and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to vote on their respective LHHS/Education funding measures later this week. NEA is calling for a bipartisan budget deal that ends sequester-level cuts and allows for needed investments in formula-grant programs that target the students most in need—like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress not to balance the budget on our students’ backs.

Nutrition standards for school meals threatened

kids in cafeteriaThe FY2016 agriculture appropriations bill marked up this week rolls back the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act’s nutrition standards for school meals even though they have already been implemented successfully in 95 percent of U.S. schools, according to the Department of Agriculture. More than half our students qualify for school breakfasttakeaction and lunch programs. As educators know from firsthand experience, proper nutrition is essential to child development and student success. Children who are poorly nourished tend to be less motivated, attentive, energetic, and more susceptible to illness—and therefore, more likely to be absent from school. Congress is also reauthorizing these programs this year. Click on the “take action” button and tell Congress to protect the healthy meals guidelines.

Cheers & Jeers

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) and Senate Democrats for standing united in opposition to restoring sequester-level cuts in defense programs while continuing them in education and other areas.

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Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Chaka Fattah (D-PA) for voting in favor of amendments to restore cuts that hurt our nation’s students in the FY2016 funding bill crafted by the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

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Senate leadership for putting off long-overdue ESEA reauthorization yet again despite broad, bipartisan support for the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177).

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House members who voted YES on new “fast-track” trade legislation that NEA and other unions oppose because it would lead to losing more U.S. jobs or shipping them overseas.

June 12, 2015

Senate ESEA Bill Likely on the Floor This Week!

esea kid holding hatIt’s go time! The Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), the Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, is now expected to be on the floor as soon as THIS WEEK, with final votes likely before the end of the month. Many NEA state affiliate leaders are meeting face-to-face with their senators and delivering this message: The bill improves upon No Child Left Behind, but can do more. Congress needs to help close opportunity gaps so all students have access to a well-rounded education, no matter their zip code.takeaction

The House of Representatives may also soon bring back its version of ESEA reauthorization—GOP leadership pulled the bill for lack of support earlier this year. Plans to do so are further evidence that leaders in both chambers see a path toward completing reauthorization this year. Even if you have taken action in recent months, it is crucial to make your voice heard again NOW! Click on the “take action” button to do so.

Tell Congress to Invest in Students and Education

educator with studentThis Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS/Education) is scheduled to “mark up” its FY2016 funding bill. Since it is working with an allocation that is $3.7 billion below the current year’s funding, the bill is likely to fall well short of the investments truly needed to help students and families. We also expect the full House and Senate takeactionAppropriations Committees to vote on LHHS/Education funding measures the week of June 22. NEA continues to call for a bipartisan budget deal that ends sequester-level cuts and allows for needed investments in formula-grant programs that target the students most in need—like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to make a budget deal.

Cheers & Jeers

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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “We’ve made it clear: We’re not moving to proceed on any appropriations bill [at] sequestration level and that does not equally balance security at home and abroad, the needs of the soldiers and our families.”

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Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), who joined with Democrats in urging a budget summit now: “Waiting until October, November or December to finally realize that we need a budget summit, with the president, congressional leaders in both parties sitting down and working out a solution is really naive and it really isn’t fair to America.”

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House GOP leadership for advancing appropriations bills that continue sequester-level cuts in non-defense programs while moving a Department of Defense appropriations bill that boosts funding through a budget gimmick.

June 5, 2015

Act NOW! Senate to Vote Soon on ESEA Bill

hispanic kidThe Senate version of ESEA reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act, is expected to be on the floor by the last week in June—if not sooner—leaving little time for educators to reach out. NEA and AFT held a joint briefing for Senate staff this week, takeactionstressing that while the bill improves upon No Child Left Behind, it still has room for improvement. Congress must help close opportunitygaps so all students have access to a well-rounded education, no matter their zip code. To help strengthen the bill, click on the “take action” button and email your senators.

Tell Congress Americans Deserve Degrees, Not Debt

graphAs part of its push to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, the Senate HELP Committee explored the rising cost of college at a hearing this week. In addition to making college more affordable, NEA is urging the Committee to focus on improving teacher preparationand supporting contingent faculty. The student debt burden stands at $1.2 trillion, surpassing both creditcard and auto loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. NEA’s nationwide Degrees Not Debt campaign, launched last year, continues to call attention to the pressing need to reduce student loan debt and make college more affordable. Click here for more information.

Pressure for Budget Deal that Helps Kids Mounts

boy in green shirtAs Senate Democrats and the White House push back on appropriations bills containing sequester-level cuts, signs are pointing to a bipartisan budget agreement like the one negotiated by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) two years ago. Senate Democrats are expected to block action on all appropriations bills to takeactionforce negotiations and ensure that non-defense programs like education, health, and job training are not cut. NEA is calling for a bipartisan budget deal that ends sequester-level cuts and allows for needed investments in formula-grant programs that target the students most in need—like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start. Click on the “take action” button to urge members of Congress to make a deal and invest in education.

Cheers & Jeers

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Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) for his comments at this week’s HELP Committee hearing on the Higher Education Act: “College attainment is increasingly inequitable. If you’re rich, you’ve got it. If you’re not, you don’t. But college should be a ticket to the middle class for low-income students. If things don’t change, we’re not going to have a rising middle class in this country!”

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Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the Appropriations Committee’s senior Democrat and former chair, for telling it like it is: “We need a sequel to Murray-Ryan [2013 budget deal] 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 at a spending bill mark-up.