NATIONAL SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION ***LEGISLATIVE ALERT*** July 27, 1998
House To Take Up Potential Block Granting Of Eisenhower Program; Senate Likely To Follow
The House of Representatives had been scheduled to vote on the FY 1999 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (HR 4274) this week. But now, with memorial services for the two Capitol Police officers who were killed tragically last Friday to be held this Thursday and Friday, it is unclear whether the bill will be scheduled for a vote next week---or whether it will wait until early September when Congress returns from its August recess.
HR 4274 is of critical importance to science educators because it would allow the combining of funds from the Eisenhower Professional Development program and Goals 2000 with those of Title VI. This would effectively create a block grant since Title VI is already very loosely defined to permit many possible uses. With this move, Eisenhower funds would NO LONGER BE TARGETED just for professional development.
In addition, HR 4274 would fund the Eisenhower program at $285 million, which is $50 MILLION LESS THAN IN FY 1998 ($335 million). Of this amount, $250 million is slated for professional development in science and math.
Before the appropriations bill is brought up for a vote, however, Republicans want to be sure they have the votes they need for passage. Joel Packer of NEA reports that, at present, Republicans are 30 to 40 votes short. This is why YOUR voice matters now.
If you want the Eisenhower program to continue to serve the needs of science and math teachers, it is important to contact your representative and senators NOW to oppose the combining of Eisenhower funds with those of Goals 2000 and Title VI. (Although the Senate will not take up its appropriations bill until early September, it is also very important to register your opinion to your senators before that time since the details of the bill are still being written.)
Basically, ask your representative and senators to vote AGAINST any appropriations bill that block grants the Eisenhower program. In addition, ask that the Eisenhower program be funded at a minimum of $335 million (the current FY 1998 amount) or more.
Here are some key points you might want to include in your comments on HR 4274 and the Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill (as yet unnumbered):
1. For the vast majority of science and math teachers, the Eisenhower program offers the primary, or only, source of support for professional development opportunities in science and math.
2. Because schools have so many competing needs, the option to shift funds from the Eisenhower program into Title VI will in all likelihood eliminate professional development opportunities in science and math.
3. The need for professional development in science is critical because the fields of science and technology are constantly changing.
4. Include a brief personal story about how you and your students have benefited from the Eisenhower program.
Although it is important for each of us to contact our representative and senators, the following House Republicans are considered to be swing members in the upcoming House vote:
CT - Nancy Johnson, Christopher Shays DE - Michael Castle IA - Greg Ganske IL - Ray LaHood, Jerry Weller MD - Connie Morella MI - Vernon Ehlers, Fred Upton NH - Charles Bass NJ - Frank LoBiondo, Marge Roukema, Bob Franks NY - John McHugh, Jack Quinn, Sue Kelly, Michael Forbes, Sherwood Boehlert, Benjamin Gilman, Amo Houghton, James Walsh OH - Steven LaTourette, Bob Ney PA - Philip English
Here is the contact information for the House and Senate:
Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask to be connected to your representative/senators offices.
The Honorable (full name) United States House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Dear Representative (last name):
The Honorable (full name) United States Senate Washington, DC 20515 Dear Senator (last name):
NOTE: With mail and e-mail, BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR HOME ADDRESS to indicate you are a constituent of the representative or senator.
NSTA has already sent a letter to the 60 members of the House Appropriations Committee and to 23 moderate House and Senate Republicans to condemn the cut in Eisenhower appropriations and the provision allowing the Eisenhower program to be rolled into a block grant.
Remember, however, that even though NSTA can speak out, REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO LISTEN TO INDIVIDUAL VOTERS.
******************************************************* WE URGE YOU TO FORWARD THIS LEGISLATIVE UPDATE TO YOUR COLLEAGUES!
******************************************************** Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Fax: (618)453-4244 Phone: (618)453-4241 (office) E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU