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Letter to the Senate opposing an Alexander amendment on Teacher Incentive Fund

February 13, 2007

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge your opposition to several ill-conceived amendments to the FY07 Continuing Resolution.  Specifically, we urge you to vote NO on:

  • An amendment to be offered by Senator Alexander (R-TN) that would provide $99 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF); and

  • Any amendment that would call for across-the-board cuts to already depleted domestic programs.

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

NEA strongly opposes the Teacher Incentive Fund, which diverts scarce resources from existing underfunded professional development programs. For example, Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act allows use of funds for the stated purposes of the Teacher Incentive Fund and also gives states and school districts significant flexibility to utilize funds for activities that best meet their needs. In contrast, the Teacher Incentive Fund restricts use of funds to only two possible uses — merit pay and tenure reform.

The proposed CR would reduce TIF funding, while increasing funding for programs proven effective in maximizing student achievement. We support the CR as proposed and oppose any effort to increase TIF funding. 

NEA also opposes any proposal to reduce funding across-the-board, further stretching limited resources among already struggling domestic programs. Although such amendments may be addressing very worthy goals, we believe they are more appropriately considered as part of bills to be debated later, such as Emergency Supplemental legislation. Therefore, we urge your vote against any such amendment.

We thank you for your consideration of our views on these important issues.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Policy and Politics