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Letter to the Senate in support of the FY08 education appropriations bill

October 15, 2007

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge your support for the FY 2008 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations bill (S. 1710), which would provide essential increases for education programs. Specifically, we urge you to:

  • Vote YES on passage of the bill;
  • Vote NO on any amendments that would decrease funding for authorized programs or implement any across-the-board cuts;
  • Vote NO on any efforts to pass a long-term continuing resolution at FY07 levels.

Votes associated with these issues may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 110th Congress.

We support S. 1710 because it provides $4.1 billion more for education than requested in the President's FY08 budget. In particular, we are very pleased that the bill:

  • 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 06 - from $10.8 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 $34.7 million to $40 million. The program had been targeted for elimination by the President;

  • Increases funding for the Physical Education for Progress program from $72.7 million to $80 million. This program had also been targeted for elimination by the President;

  • Provides an increase of more than $1 billion in discretionary Pell Grant funding over the President's request;

  • Increases funding for Head Start from $6.9 billion to $7.1 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 the Subcommittee and Committee for balancing a myriad of interests and crafting a bill that will put education funding back on track and closer to meeting the needs of the schools and the millions of students they serve.


Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy