EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress December 19, 2021

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

  1. Cassandra Montague, New Jersey
  2. Garrick Balk, Illinois
  3. Justine Hurley, Washington
  4. Manuel Garcia, Florida
  5. Katie Nash, Arizona
  6. Joseph Leo Wenzel, Minnesota
  7. Ann Alden, New York
  8. Ovidia Molina, Texas
  9. John Sheppeck, New York
  10. Jessica Rollins, Kentucky
  11. Armando Garcia, California
  12. Andrea Sadowski, Pennsylvania
  13. Janice Clark, Kansas
  14. Tambi Heiter, Iowa
  15. Jeffrey Jedd, Illinois
  16. Carrie Anderson, California
  17. Beverly Green, Colorado
  18. Joshua Holbak, California
  19. Linda McCrary, Tennessee
  20. Danielle Dehmani-Roberts, Ohio
  21. Joseph Dobis, New Jersey
  22. Lawrence Friedrich, California
  23. Lillian Jane Steele, North Carolina
  24. Judy Trohkimoinen, Wyoming
  25. Lois Leonberg, New Jersey
  26. James Monroe, California
  27. Carolyn Belmore, Massachusetts
  28. Bret Polish, California
  29. Jesse Stemberger, New Jersey
  30. Jessica Tatton, New Jersey
  31. David Watson, Maryland
  32. Nicole Bell, Ohio
  33. William Briggs Jr., California
  34. Keith Emory, Indiana
  35. Cathleen Ferrante, Massachusetts
  36. Shannon Griffin, Massachusetts
  37. Mark Hamilton, California
  38. Kevin Reynolds, Michigan
  39. Heidi Janzen Illiinois
  40. Liz Picone, Texas
  41. Katie Spendlow, Colorado
  42. Susan Yedor, California
  43. Jessica Holy, Virginia
  44. Emily Nunez, Massachusetts
  45. Douglas Caracci, New Jersey
  46. Kathleen Chandler, Pennsylvania
  47. Danielle Schulman, Connecticut
  48. Leilani Dicato, California
  49. Suzy Renee Penny, Ohio
  50. 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.


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