Tell your representative to VOTE YES on expanding background checks for gun purchases
In the first congressional action in favor of common sense gun laws in years, the full House will vote this week on legislation requiring a background check for every gun sold, as well as most transfers. Everytown for Gun Safety has recorded more than 400 incidents of gunfire on school grounds in the last five years. The U.S. government’s K-12 school shooting database shows a record number of incidents of gun violence in 2018 — the most since 1970, which is as far back as the data goes. Firearms are the leading cause of death for African American children, and the second leading cause of death for all American children. Click here and tell your representative to help keep our students safe by voting to expand background checks for gun purchases. If you’ve already sent an email, click here to call your representative instead.
Tell your representative to VOTE YES on national award for ESPs
The House will vote Monday on H.R. 276, which directs the Secretary of Education to establish the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award Program for education support professionals (ESPs) who provide essential services to students from pre-K-to grade 12. They include paraeducators, clerical assistants, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, security professionals, nurses, and more. An integral part of the public education system, ESPs promote student achievement, ensure student safety, and help establish a good school climate. Click here and tell your representatives to VOTE YES on H.R. 276.
Victory! Administration abandons effort to strip Department of Defense educators of their rights and protections — for now
Thanks to your advocacy and efforts, the Trump administration has pulled the plug on a years-long effort to “unify” administration of overseas and stateside schools operated by the Department of Defense Authority (DoDEA) — a power grab that would have stripped educators represented by the Federal Employee Association (FEA), an NEA affiliate, of their bargaining rights and civil service protections. Educators played a key role in the victory. Since the introduction of the proposal last year, FEA and NEA members have sent thousands of messages urging members of Congress to oppose the misguided proposal. DoDEA oversees 164 schools serving more than 73,000 students in 11 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Cheers and Jeers
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) introduced a resolution to end President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency so that he can build “the wall” on our southern border. The measure had 222 co-sponsors when it was unveiled Thursday night — a number that continues to grow. The House is expected to pass the measure on Tuesday; the Senate must vote on it within 18 days of that action.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA) and Rodney Davis (R-IL) will introduce bipartisan resolutions in their respective chambers this week to designate March 1, 2019, Read Across America Day. The resolution encourages parents and educators to celebrate the day by reading with children for at least 30 minutes to help promote a love of reading.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Doug Jones (D-AL) introduced the bipartisan Preserving Teacher Loan Forgiveness for Military Spouses Act (S. 532), which would eliminate barriers to earning loan forgiveness for teachers in military families. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced a companion bill, H.R. 1229, in the House.
Reps. John Lewis (D-GA) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) introduced the Higher Education Dream Act of 2019 (H.R. 1298), which would prohibit discrimination by federally funded colleges and universities based on immigration status to deny admission, enrollment, and in-state tuition. The bill has an additional 16 co-sponsors.