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EdAction in Congress November 17, 2019

NEA members urge Supreme Court to preserve DACA

NEA members Vicente Rodriguez and Karina Alvarez addressed the crowd gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court as the justices heard oral arguments on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on Nov 12. “We love this country. It’s the only country we’ve known,” Rodriguez said. “We’re asking the court to see us as the Americans we are.” Created by an executive order from President Obama in 2012, DACA protects nearly 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, including an estimated 20,000 educators and aspiring educators. NEA urged the Court to uphold DACA in a legal brief filed earlier this year. The Court will issue its ruling during the current term, which ends June 30.

House to take up Voting Rights Advancement Act

The House plans to vote before the end of the year on the Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4), which would once again require states and localities with histories of voter discrimination to seek approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making any changes in their election laws. The measure is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby v. Holder, which invalidated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act first passed in 1965 to address persistent and purposeful discrimination—through literacy tests, poll taxes, intimidation, threats, and violence—that curtailed political participation for millions of Americans. In the absence of critical federal oversight, many states implemented laws that restricted voting in the 2016 and 2018 elections. Tell your representatives to support the Voting Rights Advancement Act. TAKE ACTION

Senate clears the way for DeVos ally to join appellate court

Photo: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite
Photo: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

In a near party-line 51-41 vote, the Senate approved the nomination of Steven Menashi, an ally of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and presidential advisor Steven Miller, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined every Democrat present in opposing Menashi, described by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) as “a textbook example of someone who does not deserve to sit on the federal bench,” the Washington Post reported. NEA President Lily Eskelsen García tweeted, “[This is] a man who said that public education is bad because it promotes ‘egalitarianism.’” Though the outcome is not what we sought, your engagement played an important role that will inform future efforts. Our thanks to everyone involved!

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