When the Idaho Legislature is in session, it's easy to forget that important education bills are under consideration in the U.S. Congress, too. Here's a recap of some pending legislation in the nation's capital:
On February 28, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Chairman held a mark-up on two Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization bills – the Student Success Act (H.R. 3989) and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act (H.R. 3990) – and passed both to the full House. (Read the committee's view and a dissenting opinion from Rep. George Miller.) The National Education Association is working to ensure that the reauthorization ensures equity and adequate resources for all students. Look at the pros and cons and contact your Representative today to give your thoughts about what will work best for your students and school.
Congressional debates on the budget for the next fiscal year (FY 2013) will be on the front burner in the coming weeks. President Obama released a budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 that targets education for the single largest percentage increase of any discretionary item in the entire federal budget. Highlights of the President’s budget include ensuring greater college and career access for all students, significant resources for job creation – including for educators, and making sure that all educators are prepared when they step into the classroom. The congressional debate on the budget will be impacted by the president’s proposal as well as by automatic cuts to education and other programs scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2013. Congress will need to decide whether to accept any of the president’s budget plan, and they will need to decide whether to let the impending automatic cuts go forward. Educators will be working hard to ensure that Congress stops the automatic education cuts and makes education a top budget priority. See what the impending cuts for Title I, special education, and other critical programs would mean, then urge Congress to pass a budget resolution that doesn’t shortchange our children.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) have introduced the National Classified School Employee of the Year Award Act (S. 547/H.R. 1704) This important legislation would provide long overdue recognition for education support professionals – including paraeducators, clerical assistants, school bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, technicians, custodians, school nurses, and security professionals — for their outstanding contributions to our nation’s schools and the students they serve. As an integral part of the public education system, classified school employees promote student achievement, ensure student safety, and contribute to the establishment and promotion of a positive instructional environment. The House bill now has almost 90 bipartisan sponsors and the Senate bill has 15 bipartisan sponsors, but none are from Idaho. Tell our Senators and Representative to cosponsor and support the National Classified School Employee of the Year Award Act.