January 29, 2017
January 22, 2017
January 15, 2017
January 7, 2917
January 29, 2017
More than 1 million tell senators to say NO to Betsy DeVos
NEA-led opposition to confirming Betsy DeVos as education secretary has reached unprecedented levels—more than 1 million emails and 40,000 phone calls to senators from educators and allies in just three weeks, as the Washington Post reported this week. By comparison, the year-long campaign that culminated in passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) generated 284,000 emails to Congress.
“In my years as a public education advocate, I have never witnessed this level of public outcry,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Clearly Betsy DeVos’ nomination—as unqualified and as unprepared as she is—has touched a raw nerve not only with public education advocates like me but with the general public as well.”
DeVos has become the most threatened of all President Trump’s Cabinet nominees, as it has become increasingly likely that no Democrat will vote for her and questions surface for some Republicans. Read what Republican educators have to say about the nomination at Ed Votes. At her confirmation hearing earlier this month, DeVos struggled to answer basic questions about testing, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school safety, and more. The Senate HELP Committee votes on the nomination Tuesday, January 31 but the larger question is what happens in the full Senate, possibly the week after. Keep making history and click here or on the take action button, share with colleagues and friends, and raise your voice to oppose DeVos as education secretary.
Senate Judiciary Committee to vote January 31 on attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote Tuesday, January 31 on confirming Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), President Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General, whom NEA opposes. Sessions worked to defeat a landmark lawsuit to ensure equitable funding of public schools in Alabama and has denounced the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). In response to tough questions from Democrats during his confirmation hearing earlier this month, Sessions said he would view elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as constitutional. Click here or on the take action button and urge your senators to oppose Sessions’ confirmation.
Battle looms over Supreme Court vacancy
Supreme CourtPresident Trump says he will reveal his Supreme Court nominee this week. The court has been operating with eight justices instead of nine since last February due to the death of Antonin Scalia and Republicans’ refusal to consider anyone nominated by then-President Obama. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) says he is prepared to leave the ninth seat unfilled indefinitely. “If the nominee is not bipartisan and mainstream, we absolutely will keep the seat open,” he said this week. Stay tuned for further details in the next Education Insider.
Cheers and Jeers
Democratic HELP Committee Senators Patty Murray (WA), Bernie Sanders (VT), Bob Casey (PA), Al Franken (MN), Michael Bennet (CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Chris Murphy (CT), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Tim Kaine (VA), and Maggie Hassan (NH) for announcing their opposition to Betsy DeVos as education secretary.
Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for developing a $1 trillion plan to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure that includes $75 billion for school modernization.
President Donald Trump for his anti-immigrant executive actions, including a ban on refugees and a religious test for those wishing to enter the United States of America, and jeers to those leaders remaining silent in the face of these action.
January 22, 2017
DeVos stumbles at hearing; Committee vote delayed; Pro-public education activists flooding Senate with concerns
Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, struggled to answer basic questions at her Senate confirmation hearing, and the Committee’s vote on her nomination has now been delayed until January 31. DeVos stumbled over common issues like testing and suggested states could decide if schools should follow the landmark, bipartisan federal IDEA special education law, then later admitted she may have been confused about the federal program.
Parents, students and educators joined forces the day after DeVos’ hearing to highlight the need to offer every child a quality public education and reveal first-hand experience with the flaws of privatization. California educator Sarah Vigrass spoke of students facing the instability of having as many 5 teachers in one year at her virtual charter school. Watch the press conference here.
Across the country, educators and allies have flooded Senate offices with more than 750,000 letters opposing the DeVos nomination and Trump education agenda, as well as making more than 31,000 phone calls – all in just 2 weeks.
“Betsy DeVos, who has spent decades working to dismantle public education and privatize public schools, is dangerously unqualified and lacks the experience we should all demand in America’s secretary of education,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “The Trump-DeVos agenda for public education is wrong for students and public schools.
Click here or on the take action button, share with colleagues and friends, and raise your voice in opposition to DeVos and the privatization agenda.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for asking Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos pointed questions on issues ranging from education funding, civil rights protections, testing, special education, student loans, and public accountability for any school receiving public dollars.
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Patty Murray (D-WA) for joining educators, parents and students at a press conference opposing the failed privatization policies pushed by Ed Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
January 15, 2017
After delay, DeVos hearing set for Tuesday; hundreds of thousands urge Senate to oppose nomination
An unprecedented number of educators and allies have flooded Senate offices raising objections to Betsy DeVos’ nomination to be Education Secretary. The Senate HELP Committee delayed her hearing for a week but plans to meet this Tuesday, January 17, at 5 p.m. to question President-Elect Trump’s nominee.
In just one week, more than 125,000 educators and concerned citizens sent letters to their senators urging them to oppose DeVos, who has no experience with public schools and has spent her career working to undermine public education via private school vouchers and unaccountable for-profit charter schools. Check out NEA’s letter to the HELP Committtee.
Also this week, NEA president Lily Eskelsen García joined members of Congress at the launching of the new Public Education Caucus, where she said, “Betsy DeVos is a danger to students, especially our most vulnerable students.”
Click here or the Take Action button and join the growing wave of people telling senators to oppose DeVos.
Congress takes first step toward repealing Affordable Care Act
Both chambers of Congress passed the NEA-opposed 2017 budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 3)—the Senate by a vote of 51-48 and the House by a vote of 227-198—that takes the first step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act with no concrete plan for replacing it. The repeal-only bill is likely to eliminate health insurance for 30 million Americans and double the number of uninsured children. It also likely paves the way for drastic cuts to Medicaid funding in the form of block grants or per capita caps, Medicare “premium support” (commonly called vouchers), and other changes that would weaken and limit access to health care for children, families, and seniors. Click here or the Take Action button and urge Congress to protect people’s health care.
Hearings held on Attorney General nominee Sessions
The Senate Judiciary Committee this week wrapped up two days of hearings on Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), president-elect Trump’s pick for U.S. Attorney General, whom NEA opposes. Sessions worked to defeat a landmark lawsuit to ensure equitable funding of public schools in Alabama and has denounced the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). In response to tough questions from Democrats, Sessions said he would view elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as constitutional. The Committee is expected to vote on his nomination by late January or early February.
Cheers and Jeers
Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA) for co-chairing the new Congressional Public Education Caucus, launched January 11 at an event also attended by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jared Polis (D-CO), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and Alma Adams (D-NC)
Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) for introducing an NEA-supported bill to repeal the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage
Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for questioning Senator Jeff Sessions about his views on IDEA, which he has repeatedly called “very disruptive” in big city schools, and about his efforts to restrict LGBT rights while attorney general of Alabama
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), civil rights hero Representative John Lewis (D-GA), and new Congressional Black Caucus Chair Representative Cedric Richmond (D-LA) for forcefully opposing Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General at his confirmation hearing
Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Mike Coffman (R-CO) for introducing the BRIDGE Act, which would extend three years of protection to DACA-eligible or DACA-covered people who came to the United States as children. Original co-sponsors of the bill include
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Judy Chu (D-CA)
Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), John Katko (R-NY) and Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) for crossing party lines and voting against the budget resolution that paves the way to repeal the ACA
House and Senate GOP leadership for pushing forward on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act with no replacement plan – threatening 30 million Americans with the loss of health care coverage.
January 7, 2017
Affordable Care Act coming next week
The 115th Congress is underway, with a busy week ahead. The GOP-controlled Senate has lined up multiple hearings for President-elect Trump’s cabinet picks, including education secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos and attorney general-nominee Senator Jeff Sessions. NEA is urging senators to oppose both of them. At nearly the same time as the hearings, the Senate will vote on a filibuster-proof budget bill, setting the stage to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Tell senators to oppose Betsy DeVos as education secretary
The Senate HELP Committee will hold its hearing on Betsy DeVos at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11. DeVos, President-elect Trump’s pick for education secretary, has no experience with public schools. She has never worked as an educator or in a public school in any capacity, did not attend public schools, and did not send her children to public schools. Instead, she has spent her career working to undermine public education. DeVos has lobbied and bankrolled failed schemes like vouchers, which take money away from public schools to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense—with little to no accountability.
Nearly 150,000 people have signed an open letter from NEA, AFT, and other partners calling on DeVos and political leaders at every level to commit to the American vision of public education for all—one that welcomes and includes students of all backgrounds, identities, origins, and abilities. Now, it’s time to click on the take action button and tell your senators to oppose the nomination of DeVos.
Urge Congress to protect millions from losing health care
As early as Wednesday, the Senate is expected to vote on a budget plan paving the way to repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with no concrete plan for replacing it. The repeal-only bill is likely to eliminate health insurance for 30 million Americans and double the number of uninsured children. The House could also vote next week on the budget plan to begin to repeal the ACA. Click on the take action button and urge Congress to protect millions of Americans from losing their health care coverage.
Cheers and Jeers
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for his amendment to the budget bill to prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Representatives Tom Cole (R-OK) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) for speaking out against the Holman Rule—approved by the House in its “rules package”—which permits lawmakers to amend spending bills to target federal employees, which could include educators at Department of Defense schools, for salary cuts or job elimination.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for becoming the first senator to announce opposition to Senator Sessions becoming attorney general. “The U.S. Attorney General’s job is to enforce laws that protect the rights of every American,” Brown said. “I have serious concerns that Senator Sessions’ record on civil rights is at direct odds with the task of promoting justice and equality for all, and I cannot support his nomination.”
Senate Republican leadership for bringing forward S. Con. Res 3—the budget resolution paving the way to repealing the Affordable Care Act that does not include any replacement for it.