House to vote next week on historic increase in education funding
The fiscal outlook for the new school year is brightening as the full House prepares to vote next week on a historic investment in our nation’s students, educators and schools. Overall, U.S. Department of Education funding would increase by 41 percent next year. Key elements of the bill include a $19.5 billion increase for Title I programs, a $400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, a $3.1 billion boost for special education, and $443 million for full-service community schools—far above the $30 million provided this year. TAKE ACTION
Senate continues work on Biden’s plan to build back better
Negotiations continue in the Senate on a two-track process to advance key elements of President Biden’s plan to build back better. The Senate may vote again this week to move ahead on a bipartisan roads and bridges infrastructure bill that could attract the 60 votes necessary to defeat a filibuster. But the second, more comprehensive part of the process is an emerging $3.5 trillion budget resolution that could clear the Senate with a simple Democratic majority of 50 votes plus Vice President Harris. Passage of that resolution or framework would then lead to months of work on the actual legislation, which can—and should—include NEA priorities such as modernizing school facilities, making education more affordable, providing free school meals for all students, enhancing worker and family protections, and fair taxation that invests in America. TAKE ACTION
Four actions educators can take to protect voting rights
Stacey Abrams spoke to delegates at NEA’s 2021 Representative Assembly about voting rights, a recent Supreme Court decision that further weakens the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, and how educators can make their voices heard. She urged us to hold legislators accountable, work to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act slated for reintroduction this fall, practice citizenship in the classroom, and take action on voting rights by urging senators to support the For the People Act (S. 1) passed by the House earlier this year.
Cheers and Jeers
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) are introducing the Securing Universal Communications Connectivity to Ensure Students Succeed (SUCCESS) Act to help schools and libraries buy devices and broadband for students and patrons to use at home. The bill would provide $40 billion over five years for the Emergency Connectivity Fund launched by the American Rescue Plan.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is investing $12 million in Farm to School Grants and released new data showing that nearly two-thirds of districts and 43 million students participate in farm to school activities.