June 2, 2019
House returns from recess, prepares to vote on Dreamer bill
Just days from now, the House will vote on the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6)—the first Dreamer bill to advance to the floor in five years. H.R. 6 provides a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2.7 million Dreamers brought to this country as minors, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders—a group that includes nearly 40,000 educators working in public schools across the nation. For more information about the bill’s economic and other benefits, check out the state-specific fact sheets generated by the Center for American Progress or the interactive map available on the University of Southern California website that breaks down data by congressional district. Email your representative and urge them to support H.R. 6 or, if you’ve already sent an email, please call your representative.
NEA members brief Congress on Red for Ed movement
NEA, AFT, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus sponsored a briefing on May 30 about the Red for Ed movement. The focus was how Congress can help educators and students. Three of the speakers were NEA members: Georgia Flowers Lee, a special education teacher at Saturn Street Elementary in Los Angeles; Katherine Mullen, an American government teacher at Dundalk High School in Baltimore County, Maryland; and Amber Spradlin, a sixth grade teacher who is president of the Choctaw-Nicoma Park Education Association near Oklahoma City. They each talked about the specific challenges they had in their states and how educators worked together in partnership with parents and community groups to make changes that helped students and educators alike. Click here for further details.
Legislation introduced to give ESPs access to more benefits
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) recently introduced the ESP Family Leave Act (S. 1401) to update the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), so that more education support professionals (ESPs) can access benefits without risking their jobs. ESPs who work only during the school year or less than eight hours a day often struggle to clear the FMLA’s 1,250 hours of service threshold. The ESP Family Leave Act provides that all ESPs who work more than 60 percent of the total monthly hours expected for their specific role can access benefits. One out of every three public school employees is an ESP.
Cheers and Jeers
Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced a House companion to S. 430, which would extend the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act through fiscal 2020.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he would confirm someone nominated by President Trump to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in 2020 even though it’s a presidential election year—the reason he gave for refusing even to hold a hearing on President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.