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Education Insider March 2016

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March 25, 2016
March 18, 2016
March 11, 2016
March 4, 2016

March 25, 2016

Readers Note: With the House and Senate on spring recess, Education Insider will take a publication break next week.

Tell senators to do their job and vote on Supreme Court nominee

Merrick Garland A few Republican senators have broken ranks with GOP leadership and announced they are willing to hold a hearing and vote on Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court. Keep the take action pressure on your senators while they are back home during the spring recess! The Constitution is clear: It is the duty of the President to nominate Supreme Court justices and the duty of the Senate to provide “advice and consent”—to hold a hearing and take an up-or-down vote. Click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to do their job.

Urge Congress to repeal Social Security offsets in their entirety

social security graphic The Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) were the focus of a March 22 hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives, “Social Security and Public Servants: take action Ensuring Equal Treatment.” The offsets unfairly reduce the Social Security benefits earned by educators, police, fire fighters, and other dedicated public employees. Click on the “take action” button and urge your representatives to support the Social Security Fairness Act of 2015, which would fully repeal the GPO and WEP.

ESSA negotiated rulemaking meets for the first time

budget graphic During its first meeting this week, the committee charged with negotiating regulations to implement to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) focused on “supplement, not supplant” funding issues and assessments.

"Innovation. Opportunity. Collaboration. These are our hopes for the Title I Negotiated Rulemaking,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “The voices of the educators who were selected to be part of the negotiating team will be critical to shaping a regulatory package that focuses on student success while preserving room for innovation and strengthened support at the state, local, and school levels to support every student.”

The committee includes two voting members nominated by NEA, California teacher Ryan Ruelas and Wisconsin paraeducator Lynn Goss, as well as eight other current and former NEA members.

Remember: to help educators advocate for implementing ESSA effectively, NEA has created a repository of online resources: nea.org/essabegins. Check it out!

Cheers and Jeers

 

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Representative John Larson (D-CT) for introducing for the record NEA’s comments on GPO – WEP repeal and questions on how a WEP replacement bill may or may not work. He also called for another hearing on Social Security proposals and determining impact on beneficiaries

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Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME)and Jerry Moran (R-KS) for breaking ranks with GOP leadership and caucus and supporting a hearing and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

March 18, 2016

Tell your senators: do your job, give Court nominee a vote

Merrick Garland President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. “Americans are counting on the Senate to do its job by considering the president’s nominee, hold a hearing and a vote,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “This is a duty that both political parties always have fulfilled. Never in our nation’s history has a Senate majority said they take action refuse to consider or vote on anyone nominated by the current President.”

The Constitution is clear: It is the duty of the President to nominate Supreme Court justices and the duty of the Senate to provide “advice and consent”—to hold a hearing and take an up-or-down vote. Click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to do their job.

Tell Congress to invest in our students and fund ESSA

budget graphic The NEA-opposed GOP budget proposal for FY2017, narrowly approved by the House Budget Committee, would slash nearly $900 billion in funding for domestic discretionary programs—like education, health, and infrastructure—and cut Medicaid, which provides healthcare to one-third of our nation’s children, by $1 trillion.And while this budget is unlikely to go take action much further, it shows how hard educators must continue to push to ensure Congress actually increases the investment in our students’ education.

As states and school districts begin implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is essential for Congress to increase Title I funding, especially to help the students most in need. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to give the Labor-HHS-Education bill a bigger share of the budget in FY2017.

Hearing on Social Security offsets to be held next week

social security graphic In an important development in the continuing fight to repeal Social Security penalties for public servants, a House subcommittee will hold a hearing on March 22 to examine the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). These laws unfairly take action penalize and reduce Social Security benefits earned by educators and other public employees. NEA and educators have long seen repeal of these laws as an issue of basic fairness and continue fighting to end the penalties.

Click the “take action” button to urge Congress to support legislation to fully repeal the GPO and WEP penalties. And stay tuned for more in the next edition of Education Insider.

Cheers and Jeers

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Representative John Larson (D-CT) for introducing for the record NEA’s comments on GPO – WEP repeal and questions on how a WEP replacement bill may or may not work. He also called for another hearing on Social Security proposals and determining impact on beneficiaries.

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Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Susan Collins (R-ME)and Jerry Moran (R-KS) for breaking ranks with GOP leadership and caucus and supporting a hearing and vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.

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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for pointing out the irony of Senate Republicans advocating for a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget while ignoring their constitutional duty to vote on the president’s Supreme Court nominee. “Before we start trying to edit the Constitution, don’t you think we should try to follow it? And do our jobs?”

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Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), at a hearing on a balanced budget amendment, for urging greater investments in education, research, and infrastructure to grow the economy as a key way to actually balance the budget.

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Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) for raising the issue of allowing unemployment compensation for contingent faculty at a House hearing this week with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

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Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) for offering an amendment during committee consideration of the GOP House budget that would provide $475 million in emergency funding for Flint to help address the poisoned water crisis. Her amendment failed on a party-line vote.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee members for continuing to refuse holding a hearing to consider Judge Garland for the Supreme Court.

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House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) for putting forward a budget plan that would eviscerate Medicaid and discretionary funding for education and healthcare.

March 11, 2016

Tell Congress to provide funding for students most in need

As states and school districts begin implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is essential for Congress toincrease Title I funding, especially to help the students most in need. Congress is beginning its work on funding take action bills—hearing from educators and parents now is crucial to ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, have the support, tools, and resources they need to succeed. Click on the “take action” button and urge Congress to give the Labor-HHS-Education bill a bigger share of the budget in FY2017.

 

Two NEA nominees chosen for ESSA negotiated rulemaking panel

Lynn Goss The  panel that will negotiate proposed regulations to some sections of ESSA meets March 21-23 and will include two voting members nominated by NEA: Ryan Ruelas (far left), a social studies teacher at Anaheim High School and a member of the Anaheim City School Board in California, and Lynn Goss, a paraeducator in the Menomonie school district in Wisconsin. The panel will focus on “supplement, not supplant” funding issues and assessments. Learn more here.

Remember: to help educators advocate for implementing ESSA effectively, NEA has created a repository of online resources: nea.org/essabegins. Check it out!

Senate votes Monday on King nomination as Education Secretary

Following a 16-6 vote by the Senate HELP Committee, the full Senate is set to vote Monday afternoon on the confirmation of Dr. John King as the next Secretary of Education. King has been Acting Secretary since Arne Duncan stepped down.

Cheers and Jeers

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Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for introducing legislation to create a national award for the education support professional of the year. Help support S. 2653 and its House companion H.R. 1519 by contacting your members of Congress.

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Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for introducing the Pay What You Owe Before You Go Act, which would require deferred U.S. taxes to be paid before relocating corporate headquarters to a foreign country for tax purposes.

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Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA), David McKinley (R-WV), Education and Workforce Committee Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA), Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Tim Walz (D-MN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) for leading a letter to Appropriators urging a significant funding increase for special education this year.

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Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), chair of the Judiciary Committee, for continuing to pledge to block even a hearing on President Obama’s nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.

March 4, 2016

NEA member testifies before Congress on need to reinvest in higher ed

Jim Grimes testifies on higher education NEA board member Jim Grimes (at left, with Representative Bobby Scott, D-VA) stressed the need to reinvest in higher education and deplored the adverse impact on student success from the “explosion in the use—and overuse—of contingent faculty,” currently three-quarters of college and university faculty nationwide, at a March 2 forum convened by House Education and the Workforce Committee Democrats. “Disinvestment in higher education has led to an explosion of student loan debt that has topped $1.3 trillion, making it the largest type of indebtedness in our country today,” said Grimes, an adjunct broadcast instructor at Joliet Junior College and Kankakee Community College in Illinois. Take a look at his full testimony.take action

In tandem with the Degrees Not Debt campaign launched last year, NEA’s board of directors has lobbied Congress to allow student loans to be refinanced when interest rates drop—like mortgages and other kinds of loans. Click on the “take action” button and urge your senators and representative to support legislation to allow student loans to be refinanced when interest rates drop.

Tell your senators: support a hearing and vote on Court nominee

Scalia's chair draped in black After a brief face-to-face meeting with President Obama on March 1, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) vowed again not to hold either a hearing or vote on President Obama’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. “Mr. Grassley and I made it clear that we don’t intend to take up a nominee or to have hearings,” Sen. McConnell said at a news conference afterwards.take action

The Constitution is explicit: It is the duty of the President to nominate Supreme Court justices and the duty of the Senate to provide “advice and consent”—meaning to act on such nominations. Click on the “take action” button and tell your senators to support a hearing and vote on a Supreme Court nominee.

Cheers and Jeers

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Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Susan Davis (D-CA) and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) for serving as lead cosponsors of a congressional resolution supporting NEA’s Read Across America week.

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Republican Representatives Ryan Zinke (MT), Richard Hanna (NY), Peter King (NY), Mark Amodei (NV), and John Katko (NY) for calling for the Senate to do its job and hold a hearing and vote on a Supreme Court nominee.

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The Congressional Progressive Caucus for unveiling a proposed budget that would invest heavily in education, including fully funding IDEA and allowing for refinancing of student loans; raise the minimum wage; and fully repeal the excise tax on health-care plans.

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House Republican leadership for the proposed budget it unveiled and is trying to sell to its own caucus, which would slash $6 trillion in investments over 10 years, cut “mandatory” programs like Medicare and Medicaid by up to $30 billion over 2 years, and repeal the Affordable Care Act.