March 22, 2019
Tell your representative to support the American Dream and Promise Act
Support continues to build for the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which now has 219 cosponsors in the House — enough to guarantee passage. A new interactive map, developed by the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at USC, breaks down economic contributions by congressional district for the 2.5 million people covered by the bill. Overall, they contribute $75.4 billion in spending power and pay $27.1 billion in taxes each year. Those eligible for legal status and citizenship under H.R. 6 include Dreamers brought to this country as minors, regardless of whether they participate in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and people allowed to remain here for humanitarian reasons under the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that this group includes nearly 40,000 educators. H.R. 6 would also allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and apply for federal financial aid and work-study programs. Click on the take action button and tell your representative to support the Dream and Promise Act.
Tell your representative to VOTE YES when the Paycheck Fairness Act comes to the House floor
The House is scheduled to vote this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 7/S. 270), which would ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. On average, women still earn just 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, with women of color receiving even less. The bill updates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which has not fully achieved the goal of closing the wage gap due to limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies. First introduced in 1997, the Paycheck Fairness Act would require employers that pay employees different amounts for the same job to demonstrate a cause for that discrepancy other than gender. Other provisions would guarantee working women the right to challenge pay discrimination and end the practice of pay secrecy. Click on the take action button and urge your members of Congress to support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Tell your senators to support national award for ESPs
The House voted 387-19 to create a national award for ESPs, so now the action moves to the Senate. The bill (S. 323/H.R. 276) directs the Secretary of Education to establish the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award Program for ESPs in pre-K-to grade 12: paraeducators, clerical assistants, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, security professionals, nurses, and more. An integral part of the public education system, ESPs promote student achievement, ensure student safety, and help establish a good school climate. They are people like Matthew Cory Powell, NEA’s 2019 ESP of the Year, a custodial supervisor, special events bus driver, and night watchman at Graves County Central Elementary School in Mayfield, Kentucky. He received the award at NEA’s national ESP conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 23. Click on the take action button and tell your senators to support S. 323.
Cheers and Jeers
Rep. Ruban Gallego (D-AZ) expressed concern about the voucher proposal in the Trump/DeVos fiscal 2020 budget in a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Nationally,” he wrote, “almost $2 billion per year is wasted on voucher programs that cost taxpayers more money and yield fewer results than funds used for public school programs actually proven to work.”