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Important Letter from NEA to Congress…

May 28, 2011

Yes, this might be dry for some, and maybe a little politically wonky.  But, this is the National Education Association’s letter to House Education and Workforce Committee on ESEA Program Eliminations…in other words, it is a letter addressed to the 112th Congress of the United States aimed at eliminating cuts to education at the Federal level, which, as we all know, trickle down to state and local levels.  This is something all teachers should be at least a little familiar with:

Dear Representative:
On behalf of the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA), we would like to express our opposition to the Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act (H.R. 1891).  While we agree that a certain amount of program consolidation is needed to strengthen the impact and benefits of federal funding across the country, we are opposed to an approach which simply repeals programs in order to cut funding for public schools.  Passing this bill would cut $413 million for public schools at a time when students and their families are struggling to make ends meet.  In fact, the proposed cuts come on the heels of the final FY 2011 continuing resolution, which cut funding for programs for elementary and secondary education by over $750 million.  There is no indication that any of this funding will be replaced in subsequent legislation in the 112th Congress.

We are particularly concerned about the wholesale elimination of a number of programs meeting critical needs.  For example:

  • Educational Technology State Grants were designed to facilitate the comprehensive and integrated use of educational technology into instruction and curricula to improve teaching and student achievement.  Particular emphasis is placed on helping ensure that students and teachers in high-poverty, high-need schools have access to educational technology comparable to that of students and teachers in other schools.  Today, too many schools still lack the equipment, support systems, and/or professional development to create the 21st century learning environments students need and deserve.  NEA’s surveys of our own members indicate that many find insufficient support in utilizing technology for instructional purposes.  Lower income students are impacted the most by these technology gaps, as they most likely to rely entirely on public schools for technology access.  In reality, some students are being excluded from full participation in 21st century life.  Elimination of this program would seriously undermine efforts to prepare all students for success and ensure our nation a competitive workforce.  In addition, small investments made by this program help to leverage larger federal investments in E-rate and Broadband Technology Opportunity grants.

The full letter can be found at the link above.

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