House Appropriations Committee Approves Education Funding Bill
Members of the House Appropriations Committee approved the Labor, HHS, Education budget on May 8, which boosts education funding by 6 percent. The bill funds programs that affect individuals and families at every stage, from early childhood to retirement. “With historic investments in programs that provide opportunities for millions of people…we ensure our children and all workers can get the education and skills they need to support themselves and their families,” said Representative Rose DeLauro (D-CT), chairwoman of the House Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education. Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “We are turning the corner after years of insufficient funding levels that effectively sabotaged our ability to meet the country’s most pressing education, health care, and workforce needs.” The bill includes a $1-billion increase in Title I funds; a $1.07-billion increase for IDEA; $40 million for community schools, more than double the funding over the current year; and a $431-million increase for higher education programs. The Trump/DeVos budget for fiscal year 2020, meanwhile, proposes slashing education funding by $7.1 billion, a 10-percent cut. Click on the take action button to send an email.
Spending Bill Opposes Using Federal Money to Arm Educators
The spending bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee last week includes language opposing the use of federal education funds to buy firearms for educators or pay for weapons training. In the report on the spending bill, Democrats on the committee wrote that there is “no evidence to suggest that arming teachers would make schools safer. Instead, there are serious concerns about the unintended consequences and negative impacts such a policy could have on the well-being and safety of students.” The report refers specifically to the Student Support and Academic Enrichment State Grants, which Democrats said were never intended for either purchasing firearms or training in how to use them. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said earlier this spring, when questioned by Representative Jahana Hayes (D-CT) during a House Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education hearing, that she had no authority to restrict how the grants are spent — check out the video and see for yourself! However, a Department of Education memo specifies that the grants “may not be used to purchase firearms or firearms accessories.” Given the memo, the committee requests a definitive response and guidance from the secretary on how to spend the funds. Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced resolutions in March prohibiting the use of federal funds to train or arm educators. Click on the take action button to send an email.
Bill Focuses on Training for School Food Service Workers
Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House last week would ensure that training for food-service professionals occurs during work hours, and if not, that workers be informed in advance and compensated for participating. Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), John Katko (R-NY), Andy Levin (D-MI), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) sponsored the Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act. “While training has become an essential part of the role, many food service workers have become burdened by the cost and scheduling, making it difficult for them to meet the requirements,” Pocan said. Congress may be reauthorizing child nutrition programs this year, and the Pocan legislation addresses one of NEA’s priorities: that reauthorization include ongoing professional development and training for food service staff at no cost, during regular, paid working hours, and maximize hands-on training where appropriate. Click on the take action button to send an email.
Cheers and Jeers
Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representatives Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Sam Graves (R-MO) introduced Senate Resolution 197 and House Resolution 363 honoring National Teacher Appreciation Week by thanking teachers and promoting the profession by encouraging students, parents, school administrators, and public officials to participate in teacher appreciation events during National Teacher Appreciation Week.
Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, brought the FY2020 education funding appropriations bill over the finish line as it passed out of committee. Title I and IDEA are slated for $1-billion increases in the bill, which increases education funding by more than 6 percent over last year. The bill proposes $40 million for Full Service Community Schools programs, more than double current funding.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and sponsored the FAMILY Act, S. 463 and H.R. 1185, which would expand working people’s access to paid leave.
Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the ESP Leave Act to update the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) so that more education support professionals can access FMLA benefits without risking their jobs.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, S. 1365 and H.R. 2569, to confront the opioid and substance abuse epidemic. The bill would add $100 billion over 10 years to treatment and recovery services.