Kudos for NEA’s top cyber-lobbyists
The educators named below have been relentless in reaching out to their members of Congress during the past year. We’ve got a lot to celebrate—and more to come. Thanks for helping NEA make a difference for students, educators, and families across America. Let’s keep the activism going in 2022!
Top NEA cyber-lobbyists in 2021
- Cassandra Montague, New Jersey
- Garrick Balk, Illinois
- Justine Hurley, Washington
- Manuel Garcia, Florida
- Katie Nash, Arizona
- Joseph Leo Wenzel, Minnesota
- Ann Alden, New York
- Ovidia Molina, Texas
- John Sheppeck, New York
- Jessica Rollins, Kentucky
- Armando Garcia, California
- Andrea Sadowski, Pennsylvania
- Janice Clark, Kansas
- Tambi Heiter, Iowa
- Jeffrey Jedd, Illinois
- Carrie Anderson, California
- Beverly Green, Colorado
- Joshua Holbak, California
- Linda McCrary, Tennessee
- Danielle Dehmani-Roberts, Ohio
- Joseph Dobis, New Jersey
- Lawrence Friedrich, California
- Lillian Jane Steele, North Carolina
- Judy Trohkimoinen, Wyoming
- Lois Leonberg, New Jersey
- James Monroe, California
- Carolyn Belmore, Massachusetts
- Bret Polish, California
- Jesse Stemberger, New Jersey
- Jessica Tatton, New Jersey
- David Watson, Maryland
- Nicole Bell, Ohio
- William Briggs Jr., California
- Keith Emory, Indiana
- Cathleen Ferrante, Massachusetts
- Shannon Griffin, Massachusetts
- Mark Hamilton, California
- Kevin Reynolds, Michigan
- Heidi Janzen Illiinois
- Liz Picone, Texas
- Katie Spendlow, Colorado
- Susan Yedor, California
- Jessica Holy, Virginia
- Emily Nunez, Massachusetts
- Douglas Caracci, New Jersey
- Kathleen Chandler, Pennsylvania
- Danielle Schulman, Connecticut
- Leilani Dicato, California
- Suzy Renee Penny, Ohio
- Brian Chance, Florida
NEA pushes for further relief from student loans
After 48,000 NEA members demanded action, the U.S. Department of Education made major changes in the badly broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. A temporary waiver unveiled in October promises imminent relief for tens of thousands of public service workers, like educators, and eventual relief for hundreds of thousands more.
Now, NEA is urging the Department to broaden the waiver’s scope by allowing educators to revoke their Teacher Loan Forgiveness (TLF) awards. Many teachers took advantage of TLF without knowing it would affect their progress toward PSLF—often, because loan servicers provided misleading information.
Thanks to the waiver, over 30,000 individuals have already received more than $2 billion in loan forgiveness. In contrast, the program previously denied 98 percent of the applications filed and forgave just 16,000 borrowers in four years. Click for more information on navigating student debt and the PSLF waiver.
Victory! Secure Rural Schools Program extended through 2023
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law by President Biden on Nov. 15, 2021, extends the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program through 2023 and increases payments. First enacted in 2000, SRS supports public education and community services in rural counties located near national forests in 41 states and Puerto Rico. More than 9 million students—nearly 1 in 5—attend rural schools.
Cheers and Jeers
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) introduced the African American History Act (H.R. 6261), which authorizes $10 million over 5 years for the National Museum of African American History and Culture to support history education programs for students, parents, and educators.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) introduced the Educators for America Act (S. 3360/H.R. 6205) to address teacher shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic through grants and more funding for existing programs.
Republican Senators Richard Burr (NC), Tim Scott (SC), Joni Ernst (IA), Mitt Romney (UT), Susan Collins (ME), John Thune (SD), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Ben Sasse (NE), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Mike Braun (IN), John Cornyn (TX), and Todd Young (IN) in a Dec. 15 news conference blasted the Build Back Better Act’s child care proposals.