Accessing the vote has become more difficult in recent years, particularly for African Americans and other people of color, people with disabilities, students, and senior citizens. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act fills a critical role in protecting the freedom to vote and ensuring elections are safe and accessible by reversing dangerous, undemocratic trends taken by many states. The bill just passed the House. Now the Senate must hear from us about the critical nature of this bill and the need to protect the right to vote for all citizens, regardless of color, age, or ability.
Email your senators and tell them to support H.R. 4 to protect the right to vote and safeguard the integrity of our democracy.
Congress is debating whether an infrastructure package should include funds to modernize public school buildings.
Please help us demonstrate to your members of Congress the need for updated school buildings by filling out the form below.
Translating President Biden’s plan to build back better into action includes paying for it—and that means requiring corporations and the top 1 percent to pay their fair share. While the pandemic raged last year, 55 of the nation’s largest corporations paid no federal income tax on $40.5 billion in profits. America’s wealthiest 1 percent got $4 trillion richer, capturing 35 percent of the extra wealth while the poorest half of the population received only 4 percent.
Now is the time to say, not anymore! We can turn the corner on the economic upheaval spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic—record unemployment and a dramatic rise in food and housing insecurity—while at the same time taking actions to help create good-paying jobs, rebuild communities, reduce our society’s persistent wealth gaps, and bring about greater tax fairness.
Email your senators and representative and urge them to require corporations and the top 1 percent to pay their fair share.
The Department of Education has asked for your help identifying and resolving the issues with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This is your opportunity to share with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona how student loan debt has affected you, your family, and your schools.
The most effective letters to the Department of Education are customized and personal. A template letter for you to adapt and more information is below the submission form. Need further inspiration? Check out our student debt page.
Congress is weighing a crucial budget agreement to fund a variety of important priorities, including education. Programs to address the educator shortage and diversify the profession should be part of any budget agreement Congress passes.
Email your senators and representatives and urge them to fund programs that will produce, recruit, and retain diverse, committed educators.
No matter who we are or where we’re from, we all deserve freedom, justice and an opportunity to succeed. Educators, families, and students are coming together to urge President Biden, Vice President Harris, Senate Majority Leader Schumer, and House Speaker Pelosi to include permanent protections and pathways to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants, and their families as part of budget reconciliation legislation.
Yes! Add my name to the open letter open letter on immigration reform.
Taxation without representation was the rallying cry for the American Revolution, yet 245 years later it endures in our nation’s capital. Denying District residents full representation in Congress is unjust: they pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the nation and, in total, pay more in taxes than residents of 21 other states. It is also dangerous: Violent insurrectionists invaded Congress on January 6, yet the District could not deploy the National Guard because it is not a 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. The D.C. Admission Act (S. 51) would preserve the constitutionally required district that houses the federal government, our monuments, and the National Mall. The neighborhoods and commercial areas where the people of the District of Columbia live and raise their families would comprise the 51st state.
Email your senators and urge them to support the D.C. Admission Act (S. 51).
This summer and early fall, Congress will be working to pass important elements of President Biden’s plan to build back better. The legislation 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.
Email your senators and representative and urge them to enact and expand President Biden’s plan to build back better.
Two years ago, under the guise of “professional development,” the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) decided to require stateside educators represented by the Federal Education Association, an NEA affiliate, to devote 24 additional, unpaid hours per quarter to busy work that hinders their ability to prepare for instruction and attend to students. On average, teachers already spend 17-plus hours per week outside the duty day preparing for instruction and grading assignments. In January 2020, an impartial arbitrator found DoDEA acted illegally by unilaterally implementing the additional uncompensated hours. However, DoDEA has refused to comply with the arbitrator’s ruling, instead delaying implementation by appealing the decision to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
Recently, DoDEA announced that in its Southeast District, the unfunded additional hours will extend the duty day by an hour twice a week, creating additional hardships for educators who already lack time to complete their duties without sacrificing time with their own children, forgoing medical appointments, and abandoning personal commitments. They are exhausted from trying to balance their personal and workplace obligations and are stressed to the point of breaking—all of which is massively detrimental to their students’ learning and extracurricular environments.
Email your members of Congress and ask them to intervene, hold DoDEA accountable, and end these anti-labor practices.
It’s time for Congress to invest in the children who are the future of America. The funding levels for FY2022 approved by the House chart a new course in public education, the backbone of our nation’s human infrastructure. Overall, U.S. Department of Education funding would increase by 41 percent next year—the biggest percentage increase for any agency. 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.
Urge your senators to support the education funding levels for FY2022 approved by the House.
The Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act is designated S. 40/H.R. 40 for symbolic reasons. After the Civil War, former slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule—the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations. Introduced in Congress every year since 1989, H.R. 40 cleared committee for the first time in April of this year and is heading to the House floor.
Email your senators and representative and tell them to support the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act (S. 40/H.R. 40).
More than three-quarters of women—half the American workforce and nearly 80 percent of educators—will be pregnant and employed at some point in their lives. Women are important breadwinners in their families, yet all too often, pregnant women are pushed out of their jobs or forced to risk their health to continue earning a paycheck when they are pregnant. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S. 1486/H.R. 1065), which passed both the Senate HELP Committee and the full House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support, would create a uniform national standard for reasonable accommodations for pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions.
Email your Senators and tell them to vote yes on the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.
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 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 (S. 1302/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 senators and representative to support the Social Security Fairness Act to fully repeal both the GPO and WEP.
Many school buildings are crumbling and outdated, and leaders in Congress are debating how much to spend on a federal package to modernize them. America has 50,000 school buildings that are more than 50 years old, with outmoded HVAC systems that leave students sweltering when it’s warm and freezing when it’s cold. Roofs leak, rooms flood, pest and vermin infestation is widespread, and asbestos floor tiles make the air toxic. 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 school buildings that pose health and safety risks to students and staff.
Email your senators and representative and urge them to support the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, and include a $130 billion investment for public schools in the budget agreement.
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 co-sponsor the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021 (S. 1530/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 and maintains America’s commitment to liberty and justice for all. These undocumented immigrants include Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and essential workers on the frontlines of our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has cost 600,000 Americans their lives and exacerbated racial and economic inequities. Permanent protections and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants should also be included in any legislation that moves forward via budget reconciliation.
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.
We demand that our elected leaders and those who swear an oath to protect and serve 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 this goal and will help bring an end to police brutality, protect our 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, a comprehensive bill to expand, ensure, and strengthen voting rights nationwide, failed to muster the 60-vote supermajority necessary to advance in the Senate. But this is just the first step in the process. We will be working with our labor and civil rights partners throughout the summer to make sure this bill comes up again. The Senate must continue to hear from us about the importance of this bill and the need to ensure nationwide access to the right to vote, the bedrock of our democracy.
Email your senators and tell them to support S. 1 to strengthen our democracy and end voter suppression.
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 senators and representative and ask them to cosponsor the Improving Training for School Food Service Workers Act.