May 28, 2017
May 14, 2017
May 7, 2017
May 28, 2017
Tell DeVos vouchers hurt students
In testimony May 24 before House appropriators, education secretary Betsy DeVos struggled to defend her plan to take more than $1 billion from public schools and spend it instead on private school voucher schemes. At the same time, she refused to answer questions about enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws — specifically, withholding federal funds from private schools that discriminate against admitting students based on sexuality, race, or special needs. Watch this NEA-produced video of her testimony and then click the take action button and join the tens of thousands who have been telling Betsy DeVos that private school vouchers harm the 90 percent of students who attend public schools.
Tell Congress to reject Trump/DeVos budget
The official Trump/DeVos FY2018 education budget, released this week, “is a wrecking ball aimed at our nation’s public schools,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. In addition to cutting U.S. Department of Education funding by a whopping 13.6 percent, the Trump DeVos budget diverts over $1 billion from existing programs to private school vouchers and similar schemes, eliminates at least 22 programs entirely, and slashes funding for afterschool programs, class size reduction, professional development, Pell grants, career and technical education, and much more. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to reject the irresponsible Trump/DeVos education budget and instead support our public school students.
Cheers and Jeers
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for introducing legislation raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour
Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Katherine Clark (D-MA) for tough questions holding education secretary Betsy DeVos accountable in defending the education budget that slashes public school investments and includes private school vouchers
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for joining educators, parents, and student advocates in protesting the GOP health bill passed by the House, under which Ohio schools could lose as much as $12 million in Medicaid funding for special needs students
The National Governors Association for its bipartisan letter urging the House and Senate appropriations committees to make education funding a top priority, especially the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), special education, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and state grants for career and technical education, and prekindergarten
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for proposing a reckless budget that slashes investments in children, educators, and public schools while boosting funding for private school vouchers
May 14, 2017
Tell Congress to protect public education
The Trump/DeVos FY2018 education budget proposal will cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to The Washington Post. In addition to diverting over $1 billion from existing programs to K-12 voucher-type schemes, the proposal slashes funding for afterschool programs, class size reduction, professional development, Pell grants, career and technical education, and much more. In addition, loan forgiveness for public service would end, which could discourage students from becoming educators. “The priorities President Trump outlined in his budget are reckless and wrong for students and working families,” said NEA president Lily Eskelsen García. “If enacted, the Trump budget will crush the dreams of students, deprive millions of opportunities, and make it harder for students to access higher education.” Click on the take action button and tell Congress to focus on investing in — and improving — the public schools where 9 out of 10 students get their education.
Tell Congress to oppose private school vouchers
May 18 was Betsy DeVos’ 100th day as education secretary, an unfortunate milestone marked by the education community’s call to action on the devastating Trump/DeVos FY2018 education budget proposal. If approved, it would divert more than $1 billion from existing programs to vouchers. Tomorrow, DeVos is expected to unveil a broad tax credit voucher plan that would drain billions of additional dollars from public schools. And then, later this week, DeVos is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Committee. Click on the take action button and tell Congress NOT to take money from public schools and give it to private schools.
Support H.R. 2353 to strengthen career and technical education
The House Education and the Workforce Committee passed the NEA-supported Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) by voice vote on May 17. The bill reflects NEA’s priorities in key areas: strengthening professional development, especially as it relates to serving under-represented students, like English-language learners, and special needs students; involving educators in decision-making and planning; and addressing skills gaps by aligning career and technical education (CTE) programs with in-demand industries and giving programs flexibility to address local labor markets. The committee’s action reflects the long, bipartisan tradition of support for CTE programs, which boast a high school graduation rate of 93 percent—10 points higher than the overall graduation rate of 83 percent. Tell your representative to support H.R. 2353.
Cheers and Jeers
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) for publicizing the draconian cuts in Medicaid funding for schools made by the GOP’s American Health Care Act
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for urging the Senate Budget Committee to reach a bipartisan agreement on FY2018 spending that maintains parity between defense and non-defense discretionary programs, averts the devastating consequences of sequestration, and does NOT make new cuts proposed by the Trump administration
House Budget Committee ranking member John Yarmuth (D-KY), House Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-NY), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), and Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) for calling on Republicans to raise the FY2018 budget caps
Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) for reintroducing the POST GRAD Act, which makes graduate students eligible for federal Direct Subsidized Loans
Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Illena Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), John Duncan (R-TN), and Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) for sponsoring the Perkins Loan Extension Act, which extends the Perkins loan program for two years
Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) for leading the bipartisan effort to strengthen career and technical education
Trump/DeVos 2018 education budget proposal for the disastrous effects it would have on students at all levels — pre-K through post-graduate
May 7, 2017
House narrowly passes American Health Care Act
By a vote of 217-213, the House passed the NEA-opposed American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill gives the richest Americans $883 billion in tax cuts while depriving 24 million of the most vulnerable — children, the poor, the sick, and the elderly — of health coverage, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Public education and the students most in need will suffer as well. To compensate for the loss of federal support for Medicaid — the centerpiece of the bill — states are likely to divert money from education to health care as well as limit the number of beneficiaries, the scope of benefits, or both. Last-minute changes made to win the support of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus further weakened protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The next stop is the Senate, where several key GOP senators have expressed concerns with the House version. Click on the take action button and tell the Senate to oppose the deeply flawed AHCA.
Tell Congress the Trump/DeVos agenda is wrong for students
Congress passed a spending bill this week that will keep the government running for another five months. Read NEA’s comments on it here. Now, attention turns to FY2018, which begins October 1. President Trump’s preliminary proposed budget would divert over $1 billion from existing programs to voucher-type schemes that strip public schools of scarce resources, with plans to create a $20 billion tax credit voucher plan. Afterschool programs, class size reduction, professional development, Pell grants, and more would be on the chopping block. Overall, federal funding for education would decline by $9 billion or nearly 14 percent. Click on the take action button and tell Congress to focus on investing in — and improving — the public schools where 9 out of 10 students get their education.
ESP of the year Saul Ramos get accolades from Congress
Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) presented the RISE award to NEA member Saul Ramos and made the achievement part of the official Congressional Record. Sponsored by the National Coalition of Classified Education Support Employee Unions, the RISE award recognizes extraordinary and inspirational activities to promote quality education, foster safe and positive learning environments, and ensure student success. NEA’s 2017 ESP of the year, Ramos is a one-to-one paraeducator and braillist in the Worcester Public Schools in Massachusetts.
Urge your representatives to support the Equality Act
The Equality Act, reintroduced this week with broad bipartisan support, provides explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws. Specifically, it amends Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. Nationwide, more than 70 percent of Americans support legislation to achieve the Equality Act’s goals, according to polling by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. Urge your senators and representative to cosponsor and support the Equality Act.
Cheers and Jeers
Republican Representatives Andy Biggs (AZ), Mike Coffman (CO), Barbara Comstock (VA), Ryan Costello (PA), Charlie Dent (PA), Dan Donovan (NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Will Hurd (TX), Walter Jones (NC), David Joyce (OH), John Katko (NY), Leonard Lance (NJ), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Thomas Massie (KY), Patrick Meehan (PA), Dave Reichert (WA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Chris Smith (NJ), and Michael Turner (OH) for voting NO on the American Health Care Act
Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) for leading the effort to reintroduce the Equality Act
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Dina Titus (R-NV) for introducing a bill to create a national Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award program (S. 978/H. R. 2234)
Republican Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), David Joyce (OH), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Tom MacArthur (NJ), Patrick Meehan (NJ), and Chris Smith (NJ) for voting NO on the NEA-opposed Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1180)
Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), David Loebsack (D-IA), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Mike Bost (R-IL), and Jim McGovern (D-MA) for sponsoring the congressional resolution honoring our nation’s teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7-13) and on National Teacher Day (Tuesday, May 9).
217 Republicans who voted YES on the American Health Care Act