May 20, 2018
Keep the pressure on! Tell Congress not to add a voucher program to the must-pass defense bill
Your advocacy has succeeded — thus far — in staving off the addition of a voucher program for military-connected students to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. While it may appear that support for vouchers is softening, the battle is far from won — a potential amendment to the bill could provide vouchers for students with special needs. Whether they’re called vouchers, education savings accounts, or tuition tax credits, the impact is the same: robbing public schools of funding and resources that may already fall short of what is needed. A voucher program could also reduce Impact Aid for public schools serving large numbers of military-connected students — one of the reasons the National Military Family Association and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) are against it. Click on the take action button and tell your senators and representative to oppose private school vouchers for military-connected students.
Farm bill that makes harsh cuts in SNAP fails, but House could vote again this week — please weigh in one more time
Your advocacy against cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), our nation’s largest anti-hunger program, is also getting results. The farm bill (H.R. 2) that makes harsh cuts in SNAP failed by a vote of 198-213, largely due to squabbling among House Republicans — members of the far-right Freedom Caucus voted against H.R. 2 to force a vote on unrelated, NEA-opposed immigration legislation. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has left the door open for another vote on H.R. 2 this week, however. Click on the take action button and tell your representative one more time to oppose H.R. 2 because it hurts working families and jeopardizes free school meals for up to 265,000 students.
Senate votes to preserve net neutrality
In a near party-line vote of 52-47, the Senate voted to preserve net neutrality by blocking a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to undo Obama-era rules governing the internet. While House Democrats are planning to file a discharge petition to achieve the same goal, it will be an uphill climb because the chamber is so bitterly divided. Net neutrality helps ensure that students have equal access to content on the web at equivalent speeds. NEA has a long history of championing equitable and robust access to the internet by advocating for the FCC’s E-Rate program — critical not only to connecting nearly 100 percent of schools to the internet, but to maintaining equitable broadband connectivity.
Cheers and Jeers
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), John Kennedy (LA), and Lisa Murkowski (AL) for voting with Democrats to preserve net neutrality
Republican Reps. John Katko (NY) and Dave Trott (MI) for becoming the 19th and 20th members of the GOP to sign the discharge petition that could force Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to hold votes on the NEA-supported Dream Act and other immigration bills
Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) for leading a bipartisan letter to President Trump stressing the need to include schools in the administration’s infrastructure package
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA) for leading discharge petitions on net neutrality in their respective chambers
Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Democrats on the House Education and Workforce Committee for taking the opportunity, during a hearing on privacy and data security, to acknowledge the 64th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education by highlighting the continuing need for civil rights for all students
Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) for introducing a resolution acknowledging the continuing obligation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division to enforce Title VI of the Civil Rights Act