by Sara Robertson/photo by cometstarmoon
The partisan divide plaguing Washington is evident in the National Education Association’s recently released Legislative Report Card for the first session of the 112th Congress (2011). The annual report card measures members’ of Congress overall support for public education and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F.
In 2011, only 57 Congressional Republicans earned passing NEA grades, while 143 did so in 2005. “Unfortunately, these ratings confirm that Congress is increasingly divided. We all have a responsibility to help our students succeed—especially our elected leaders,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
The grades of more moderate Democrats and Republicans rebounded from 2009-2010 lows as a result of bipartisan opposition to attacks on worker’s rights and support for education programs such as Title 1 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee also worked in bipartisan fashion to adopt some needed improvements to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
“We have to work together to ensure adequate and equal funding for all public schools so that all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Van Roekel. “These men and women hold much of the future of our students in their hands and we need to know if our member of Congress supports public education and workers’ rights.”
NEA graded members of Congress based on selected votes in 2011. The grades were also based on other key legislative actions, such as behind-the-scenes advocacy for and against education and educators, bill co-sponsorships, committee votes and how accessible the members were to education advocates back in their home state or district.
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