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Letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Chairman's Mark of the FY 2008 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill

June 20, 2007

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge your support for the Chairman's Mark of the FY 2008 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill. We enthusiastically support the bill because it:

  • Increases funding for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by nearly $1.1 billion over FY 07 -- from $12.8 billion to $13.9 billion (+8.3%);
  • Restores funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (special education) to levels comparable to FY 07 -- from $10.7 billion to $11.2 billion (+4.2%; nearly $750 million over the President's request)
  • Triples funding for School Improvement Grants to $500 million
  • Increases funding for the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program from $36.6 million to $40 million. The program had been targeted for elimination by the President;
  • Increases funding for the Physical Education for Progress program from $72.6million to $80 million. This program had also been targeted for elimination by the President;
  • Provides an increase of more than $1 billion in discretionary funding for the Pell Grant program over the President's request;
  • Increases funding for Head Start from $6.8 billion to $7 billion (+2.9%; $300 million over the President's request);
  • Rejects the President's proposed private/parochial school voucher program; and
  • Limits funding for the unauthorized Teacher Incentive Program to FY 06 levels ($99 million).

We commend Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Specter for their balancing of the needs of the myriad interests contained in the bill, particularly given the limited allocation provided to the Subcommittee. We are convinced that the Senate bill as proposed will result in a final bill that puts funding for public education back on track and moves closer to meeting the needs of the schools and the millions of students they serve.

 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy