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A weekly review of progress on the Quality Public Schools Agenda and other legislation that impacts our students, classrooms, and public education.November 14, 2003
News Note! NEA member voices are being heard.
Representative Rob Simmons (R-CT) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) have each voiced a litany of concerns about ESEA/No Child Left Behind in letters to Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Tell your Members of Congress your stories.
The Week in Congress - More was Said than Done
November 21 is the target date for Congress to adjourn. But the House simply scratched the week and recessed. In the Senate, more was said than done.
VOUCHERS - DOWN TO THE WIRE
- Administration strategy: attach a District of Columbia voucher program to a "must pass" bill.
- NEA strategy: Remove this onerous provision!
Tell Congress: Don't allow an end-run on a voucher plan that can not pass on its own.
FUNDING - DOING MORE WITH LESS = A MATH PROBLEM
NEA this week- in a message to the House and Senate - urged negotiators to increase funding for critical education programs, including Title I, IDEA (special education), and higher education student aid. The original House and Senate bills (H.R.2660, S.1356) shortchange schools.
Tell Congress: Demands are growing, while sagging state revenues are forcing funding cuts. State and local taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize federal funding shortfalls. Support the Senate-approved funding for IDEA and the highest possible funding levels for ESEA/No Child Left Behind.
SOCIAL SECURITY OFFSETS
H.R. 743 - NOTE! - With encouragement from NEA, Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson has put a 'hold' on Senate action until she can amend and improve the Sec. 418 language that affects school employees who move to a Social Security district immediately before retiring.
Tell the Senate: Repeal these unfair offsets.
EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE PLANS
NEA once again urged Congress this week to ensure that Sec. 631 is included in any final Medicare prescription drug bill. NEA-supported Sec. 631 of the Senate Prescriptions and Medicare bill (S.1) clarifies that employer-provided retiree medical benefits that coordinate with Medicare (or a counterpart State plan) do not violate age discrimination prohibitions and thus protects retiree health benefits. The Medicare bill is caught up in negotiations.
Tell Congress: "Please do not make it legally impractical for my school district to continue its retiree medical plan. Include Sec. 631 of S.1 in any final Medicare prescription drug bill."
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