Taxation without representation was the rallying cry for the American Revolution, yet 245 years later it endures in our nation’s capital. It is time to correct this historic injustice and make the District of Columbia the 51st state. The denial of full representation in Congress—and therefore, full citizenship—in a city nearly half Black is egregious given our nation’s history of suppressing the Black vote. No other democracy denies its citizens equal representation because of where they live.
Email your senators and tell them to support statehood for the District of Columbia.
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S. 937/H.R. 1843) would strengthen federal efforts to address hate crimes targeting Asian-Americans in several ways: designate a Department of Justice employee to expedite the review of COVID-19 hate crimes, provide guidance for state and local officials for online reporting of such crimes, and require the department to issue guidance to mitigate racially discriminatory language in describing the pandemic.
Email your senators and representative and tell them to support the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act.
The Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act (H.R. 2337) starts to fix problems caused by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) for nearly 2 million people dedicated to public service, including many educators. Unfortunately, it does not address the Government Pension Offset (GPO) that reduces the Social Security spousal or survivor benefits of people not covered by Social Security themselves.
Urge your representative to support the Public Servants Protection and Fairness Act to start fixing problems caused by the WEP.
The Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 82) would fully repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) that together deprive more than 2.5 million dedicated public servants, including many educators, of Social Security benefits they have earned.
Urge your representative in the House to support the Social Security Fairness Act to fully repeal both the GPO and WEP.
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, released March 31, includes modernizing K-12 public schools, upgrading the community college infrastructure, and improving child care facilities. It’s a good start, but Improvements and increased investments are needed given the magnitude of the challenges we face: 50,000 school buildings that are more than 50 years old, outmoded HVAC systems, and limited access to high-speed broadband sufficient for digital learning, especially in rural areas. NEA supports the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act (S. 96/H.R. 604), which would create a $100 billion grant program and $30 billion tax-credit bond program targeting high-poverty schools whose facilities pose health and safety risks to students and staff. It would also restore Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) that can be used to finance school renovations, repairs, and investments in technology at below-market rates—sometimes, as low as zero.
Email your senators and representative and urge them to cosponsor the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act.
Learning takes concentration and energy, but students who are hungry don’t have the fuel their bodies need. We can fix this by providing healthy school meals to all students at no cost to them, ensuring that they are hunger-free and ready to learn.
Email your senators and representative and ask them to cosponsor the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 (S. 1350/H.R. 3115).
No matter who we are or how much we make, we should all have the opportunity to learn without limits. But the astronomical cost of higher education—even public higher education—forces many students to either forego their dreams or be trapped in a lifetime of debt. But the student debt crisis is not accidental—it is working exactly as designed by lawmakers, banks, and loan servicers. Immediate and broad cancellation of federal student loan debt is a necessary step to ensure we all can thrive—no exceptions.
Urge Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to take immediate action to cancel both the student loan debt of public service workers with at least 10 years of service, and $50,000 in student debt for all other federal loans.
Congress is reauthorizing child nutrition programs including school meals. NEA’s priorities include expanding access to healthy school meals and out-of-of school time programs, and improved training and equipment for school food service workers.
Email your senators and representative and ask them to strengthen child nutrition programs.
Women earn just 82 cents for every dollar White men earn—and the pay disparity is worse for Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous women. This gender gap exists across nearly all occupations, including female-dominated professions such as education. The Paycheck Fairness Act of 2021 (S. 205/H.R. 7) will help end these disparities and show our students that we believe in equal pay for equal work.
Email your senators and ask them to support the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2021.
The Keep Our Pact Act (S. 72/H.R. 764) would create a mandatory 10-year path to fully funding both Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—critical programs for the students most in need. Title I programs for low-income students and schools were shortchanged by nearly $30 billion in the 2019-20 school year. Congress promised to pay 40 percent of the excess costs of special education services when IDEA was first passed, but has never come close—the federal share is now less than 14 percent. Now is the time to fulfill America’s promise of equal opportunity for all students.
Email your members of Congress and tell them to cosponsor and support the Keep Our PACT Act.
The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), enacted in 1994, was a historic recognition that domestic violence devastates victims and degrades our society. Reauthorizing VAWA would maintain protections for victims, make vital investments in preventing sexual assaults, protect victims of domestic violence from intimate partner homicide, and increase victims’ access to safe housing and economic stability. The bill would also strengthen VAWA by closing the “boyfriend loophole” and barring people convicted of abusing, stalking or assaulting a dating partner from purchasing or owning a firearm.
Email your senators and tell them to support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
We need an immigration system that is humane, functional, and just—one that respects all people, no matter their ZIP code, race, religion or birthplace. The American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) provides a 13-year path to citizenship for up to 4 million undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers brought to the United States before age 18, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and people granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for humanitarian reasons. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) provides a path to a green card for an additional 2.4 million undocumented farm workers, along with their spouses and minor children.
Urge your senators to support an immigration process that is humane, functional, and just.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (S. 529/H.R. 8) requires a background check for every gun sold and most transfers while the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446) extends the initial background check review period from 3 to 10 days. Firearms are the leading cause of death for African American children, and the second leading cause of death for all American children.
Urge your senators to support common-sense gun reforms.
Going to school or returning home from an after-school job or visiting friends or going to a cookout or concert—or a playground—should not put students’ lives at risk. But sadly, in communities of color, this is the reality.
As the one-year mark of George Floyd’s murder approaches, we demand accountability and justice for all and to demand that ourour elected leaders and those who swear and oath to protect us respect our rights, no matter our race, background or where we live. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280) takes initial steps toward that goal and will work to end police brutality, protect civil rights and liberties, and change the culture of law enforcement agencies.
Email your senators and ask them to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequities facing too many of our students—everything from access to educational opportunities, health care, and even food to the ability to participate in remote learning. Community schools can play a key role in addressing these challenges. They reimagine public schools as community hubs committed to meeting the needs of the whole child with integrated support services, expanded and enriched learning opportunities, and family and community engagement. The Full-Service Community School Expansion Act would provide $3.65 billion over the next five years to plan, implement, expand, and support full-service community schools in low-income and underserved communities.
Email your senators and representative and ask them to support the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act.
The Equality Act (S. 393) would give LGBTQ Americans explicit protection from discrimination in key areas of life: employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service. The bill would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The current patchwork of laws—most states lack non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity—leaves many students and educators vulnerable to discrimination and sends the message LGBTQ Americans are second-class citizens.
Urge your senators to support the Equality Act (S 393).
The For the People Act (S. 1/H.R. 1), the most comprehensive democracy reform bill in decades, rests on three pillars: reaffirming and expanding voting rights, strengthening oversight to end big money in politics, and ensuring an ethical government. Measures to achieve these goals include automatic voter registration, voluntary public financing of campaigns, placing new limits on partisan practices like gerrymandering and purging voter rolls, and requiring candidates for president and vice president to release their tax returns for the previous 10 years. The bill also makes a strong argument for the District of Columbia becoming a state.
Email your senators and tell them to support the For the People Act.
President Biden’s promise “to restore humanity and American values to our immigration system” is the basis for the U.S. Citizenship Act introduced Feb. 18 in both the Senate and the House. For participants in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Status Holders (TPS) since Jan. 1, 2017, the pathway to citizenship would be three years. For undocumented individuals in the United States since Jan. 1, 2021, the pathway to citizenship would be eight years—temporary status for five years, then Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) or green card status for three years.
Email your senators and representative and ask them to support the U.S. Citizenship Act.
School food service workers serve millions of meals each day, providing healthy, nutritious foods that fuel students’ minds and bodies. Yet, many of these professionals don’t have access to the training they need for this important work. The Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act would help make training available that maximizes hands-on opportunities during regular, paid working hours.
Email your representative and ask them to cosponsor the Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act.