Skip to Content

Education Insider November 2015

logo

November 20, 2015
November 13, 2015
November 6, 2015

November 20, 2015

ESEA rewrite clears another hurdle; final votes coming

At long last, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is teed up for final votes in the House and Senate after Thanksgiving! On Thursday, by a vote of 39-1, a Senate/House conference committee approved a framework to reauthorize ESEA for the first time in nearly 14 years.

What’s next? The House is expected to vote on the bill December 2 or 3 and the Senate is likely to follow suit the week of December 7. What’s in the agreement? Check out the summary from the committee. We are encouraged that the agreement addresses our three core priorities: beginning to close opportunity gaps, reducing standardized testing and decoupling statewide tests and high-stakes consequences, and ensuring that educators’ voices are part of the decision-making process.

The unprecedented activism of NEA members has brought us to this point. Now, with the final bill and final votes looming, we must raise our voices one last time. “We look forward to working with members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate when theytake action return from Thanksgiving break to ensure that we produce a final bill that, when signed by the president, gives every student the opportunity, support, tools, and time tolearn,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García.

Do your part today. Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to vote for the conference agreement and pass a new ESEA.  

Tell Congress: Increase funding to help students most in need

As Congress races toward the December 11 deadline when current funding expires, the Appropriations Committee is preparing to make final decisions soon on an “omnibus” funding bill for the remainder of FY2016. With Congress having recently take action raised the budget caps, now isthe time to tell your elected representatives that students have been shortchanged for years and it’s got to stop! Congress must boost theallocation available for education to make it happen. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to invest more heavily in programs that help the students most in need—like Title I, IDEA, and early childhood education.  

Cheers and Jeers

thumbsup

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Representative John Kline (R-MN), and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), the leaders of the education committees, for brokering an agreement on the framework for a final ESEA bill and leading it through a conference committee.

thumbsup

Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Representative Luke Messer (R-IN), Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL) for offering amendments during the ESEA conference that will improve the final bill. All their amendments passed. (See NEA letter for details; the Polis amendment that passed was for dual enrollment.)

thumbsup

GOP Senators Johnny Isakson (GA), Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mark Kirk (IL), Orrin Hatch (UT), and Lamar Alexander (TN) and Representative Glenn Thompson (PA) for joining all the Democrats on the ESEA conference committee in voting against an amendment by Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) that would have cut the levels of available funding for the new ESEA.

thumbsup

Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) for introducing the Equity and Excellence in American Education Act of 2015 (H.R. 4013). “For far too long, we have been viewing our education system through an inaccurate lens: equality,” he said. “Equality uses a static, one-size-fits-all approach instead of focusing on the unique needs of each and every student. It is high time our education system works for ALL children in the United States.”

thumbsup

Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) for introducing the IDEA High Cost Pool Funding Act (H.R. 4028) to help states cover the exceptional costs sometimes associated with educating students with disabilities, including supports, resources, and one-on-one instruction for the students most in need.

thumbsup

Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) for sponsoring a briefing on the national teacher shortage in which two NEA members took part: Tim Vedra, a 4th grade teacher from Beloit, Wisconsin, and Harold Acord, a high school German and Spanish teacher from Moreno Valley, California.

thumbsdown

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for voting against the bipartisan agreement to reauthorize ESEA; he was the lone no vote in Conference Committee.

thumbsdown

Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) for offering an amendment in the ESEA conference that would have created a clearinghouse at the Department of Education on teacher evaluation. The amendment was  defeated.

thumbsdown

Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) for offering an amendment in the ESEA conference that would have cut the levels of funding available for the new ESEA.

November 13, 2015

ESEA agreement nears, conference committee meets Wednesday

Almost 14 years since the signing of No Child Left Behind, Congress is literally now within sight of ending that broken era. After weeks of negotiations, Senate and House education committee leaders announced Friday they have a framework on a final ESEA reauthorization bill. Conference committee members are expected to be appointed Monday, with a formal take action meeting by Wednesday, and votes in the House and Senate by the week of November 30th. The incredible year-long advocacy by educators hasbrought Congress close to ending the broken No Child Left Behind era. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García applauded the next steps toward reauthorization. Keep the pressure on until both chambers have passed a bill that provides all students with more opportunity and time to learn. Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to finish ESEA and get it right.

Urge Congress to increase funding for students most in need

Negotiations over an end-of-year bill to fund the government continue. Now that overall funding levels have been raised in the recent budget agreement, it is time to push for a larger share for the students most in take action need. Congress must put together an“omnibus” appropriations/funding bill by December 11th, when current funding expires. Students have been short changed for years and it’s got to stop! Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to invest more heavily in programs for the students most in need— like Title I, IDEA, and early childhood education.

Tell senators to oppose DC voucher program renewal

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is expected to soon mark up a bill to extend Washington DC’s private school voucher program. Click on the take action “take action” button to urge your senators to vote NO on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (S. 2171), which funds the DC voucher program, which ignores the needs of public school students and diverts resources that should strengthen public schools. 

Cheers and Jeers

thumbsup

Representatives Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Mark Takano (D-CA) and Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) for serving as lead sponsors in their respective chambers for this year’s resolution on American Education Week, November 16-20.

thumbsup

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for penning a dear colleague letter to ESEA negotiators urging the inclusion and strengthening of resource equity or opportunity dashboard indicators in a final bill.

thumbsup

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Bob Casey (D-PA) for co-hosting a briefing on improving the child and dependent care tax credit to help working families pay for child care.

thumbsup

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) for urging newly-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to work with Democrats to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and using the story of a young DREAMer from Ryan’s home state to underscore why it is so important. 

November 06, 2015

Tell Congress: Get ESEA done! Get ESEA right!

Educator teaching class NEA and nine other leading education groups kicked off a digital ad campaign this week urging Congress to finish rewriting ESEA and focus on opportunity for all students, no matter their zip code. “If Congress is serious about every child’s bright future, let’s get serious about putting kids first,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “Now is the time to finish the job and deliver a bipartisan education bill to the take action president’s desk right away. Students can’t afford to live another yearunder the failed No Child Left Behind law.” Agreement on a final bill is likely to be announced by before Thanksgiving—Congress is hearing the urgency from educators! Continue to add your voice so that Congress cannot ignore the need to pass ESEA now. Call your senators and representative via our “Opportunity for All” hotline at 1-866-331-7233. Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to finish ESEA now.

Urge Congress to invest in students most in need

Kids eating lunch Now that overall funding levels have been set, it is time to push for a larger share for the students most in need. Congress must put together an “omnibus” appropriations/funding bill bytake action December 11, when current funding expires. Students have been short changed for years and it’s got to stop! Click on the “take action” button to urge Congress to invest more heavily in programs for the students most in need, like Title I, IDEA, and Head Start.

Higher Ed Act turns 50! Tell Congress to make college more affordable

50 HEA Anniversary The Higher Education Act, signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago today (November 8, 1965), has helped make a college education attainable for thousands of lower- and middle-income students. The law governs Pell grants, work-study, student loans, the take action National Teachers Corps, Title IX, andmore. NEA’s principles for HEA reauthorization include making college more affordable, improving teacher preparation, and recognizing educators as stakeholders. Click on the “take action” button and tell Congress to make sure the Higher Education Act lives up to its promise of opportunity for all.

Urge senators to oppose DC voucher program

“Instead of taking taxpayer funds away from public schools and handing them over to private schools, we should focus on equipping all students for success and closing opportunity gaps for all students, no matter what zip code they live in,” NEA wrote in comments submitted to the Senate take action Homeland Security andGovernmental Affairs Committee in connectionwith its Nov. 4 hearing onreauthorizing the Washington DC private school voucher program. A committee markup is likely November 18, and proponents may try to add the legislation to a year-end funding bill. Click on the “take action” button to urge your senators to vote NO on the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act (S. 2171), which funds the DC voucher program.  

Cheers and Jeers

thumbsup

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member, and Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), House Appropriations Committee member, for pushing back against a possible piecemeal approach by Republicans that would bring forward certain appropriations bills instead of all of them. “We are hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can work across the aisle and across the dome to negotiate a full-year appropriations package that invests in our national security, jobs, and critical services on which hard-working American families rely,” they said. “Democrats will stand strong and united against poison pill riders, and in support of responsible investments to move this nation forward.”

thumbsdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for attempting to separate the defense appropriations bill from an end-of-year omnibus funding bill, which could relegate bills like Labor-Health-Education to a continuing resolution. Senate Democrats blocked that effort, calling instead for action on all appropriations bills before the December 11 deadline.

thumbsdown

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) for their vocal support and praise of the Washington DC private school voucher program at a hearing this week.