Sunday, September 16, 2007

URGENT ACTION ALERT!Contact your members of Congress

Contact your members of Congress

ISEA President Flown to D.C. to Lobby for ISEA's Positive Agenda

Iowa ISEA President Linda Nelson was among some 40 state association leaders who rushed to the nation’s capital on Sunday to voice their opposition to draft language currently under discussion for the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Chief among their concerns is the continued focus on high stakes testing, punishments, labeling of children, and unfunded federal mandates.

NEA President Reg Weaver took center stage on Monday when he testified before members of the House Education and Labor Committee. "The draft that has been provided for discussion makes only minor tweaks in the divisive and dysfunctional law that parents, teachers, and public schools have been saddled with these past five years," Weaver said.

the following excerpt is taken from ISEA President Linda Nelson's Blog entry on her trip representing ISEA. CLICK HERE to read more.

House Committee Chairman George Miller (at left) has put a process in place for the reauthorization of ESEA on a very quick timeline. NEA also learned that this may be the only hearing on over 1000 pages of the new statutory language before a full committee mark-up on the bill later this month. The committee posted draft language for Titles 2-9 (over 600 pages) late last night on their website and it is unclear if they will hold another hearing on those titles. NEA staff worked round the clock to analyze this very complicated and complex draft legislation.

NEA asked states to bring into DC one key person for each Member of Congress on our House Education and Labor Committee target list. We all attended the Sunday night briefing at NEA and were able to carry the NEA message about the serious problems with the ESEA draft to their Member of Congress on Monday. I represented Team ISEA with our targeted member of Congress, Congressman Dave Loebsack (CD 2).

The draft language also makes an assault on labor. If this proposed language should become law, local school districts would be allowed to impose pay plans on school employees while bypassing existing state collective bargaining laws. One draft provision would mandate that local districts use student test scores as the basis of determining teacher pay. Still other provisions would curtail employee protections against arbitrary transfers and reassignments.

Rep. Dave Loebsack from Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District who serves on the House Education and Labor Committee assured President Nelson that he is opposed to this draft. ISEA members should contact Loebsack immediately and thank him for his support of our position. Members in other districts should contact your Representatives and urge them to tell their colleagues on the committee to reject this draft language and focus on the things that will truly make a difference for children and public education -- reduced class size, increased training for teachers, expanded access to early childhood education, and adequate funding for school facilities and materials.