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Letter to the House of Representatives supporting the FY08 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill

July 16, 2007

Dear Representative:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we strongly urge your support of the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, scheduled for floor debate this week. Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress. 

We applaud Chairman Obey and Ranking Member Walsh for crafting a strong bipartisan bill that will make a real difference for our nation's public schools and the students they serve. By providing a more than seven percent increase in overall education funding -- from $57.4 billion to $61.7 billion -- this bill represents a critical reversal of the cuts and program freezes enacted in recent years. The investments in education provided in the bill are essential to the future strength and economic well-being of our nation.  

We are particularly pleased that the bill will:

  • Raise the maximum Pell grant by $390 to $4,700, benefiting over 5.5 million students. This increase will allow students to pursue the education so essential for their future success and will, as a result, ensure that our nation can remain competitive in the global economy.

  • Increase funding for programs under No Child Left Behind, including a $1.6 billion increase for Title I. This increase, bringing Title I funding to its highest level in history, would benefit nearly 55,000 schools and fund reading and math instruction for an additional 161,000 low-income students.

  • Increase the federal contribution toward the rising costs of special education for 6.9 million students with disabilities, to help schools better serve students with special needs without having to cut other critical programs. The bill restores the federal share of IDEA funding to the level previously reached in FY06.

  • Increase funding for teacher quality programs by ten percent, helping to ensure the professional development and supports necessary to attract and retain quality educators.

  • Increase funding for Head Start, a proven, yet underfunded program with a long history of success in providing high-quality early childhood education, health, social services, and parental involvement programs. Currently, the program can serve only 60 percent of eligible children.

State and congressional district-specific information on the impact of the bill as reported out of the subcommittee is available on the NEA Website at http://www.nea.org/lac/fy08edfunding/index.html . Please note that this data does not yet reflect amendments to the bill adopted by the full committee. 

Again, NEA strongly supports this legislation and urges you to vote YES.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy