EISENHOWER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FACES NEW THREAT
From information that NSTA has obtained in meetings earlier this week with the Department of Education, it appears the Department is considering combining the Eisenhower Professional Development program, Goals 2000, and Title VI into one new "Teacher Quality" initiative in their plan for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This plan will be submitted to Congress and most likely be the basis for Congressional ESEA action later this year. NSTA's response to the Department of Education is listed below.
THIS IS A SERIOUS THREAT WHICH WOULD EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATE THE EISENHOWER PROGRAM FOR GOOD.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: This is the real deal. If you use Eisenhower funds or want this program to continue, write to your Congressman and Senators on your school letterhead now. Ask them to not accept any Department of Education initiative that would combine the Eisenhower program with other federal education programs during ESEA reauthorization. Ask them to keep a continued focus on professional development for science and math educators.
Also in the letter, ask your Congressperson or Senators to share your concerns with Rep. William Goodling in the House or Representatives and with Senator Jim Jeffords in the Senate. You should cc your letter to Secretary Richard Riley, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202. Get your colleagues to sign the letter as well.
Here is the contact information for the House and Senate:
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):
Use the C-SPAN Congressional e-mail service. NOTE: When sending snail mail and e-mail, BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR HOME ADDRESS to indicate you are a constituent of the representative or senator. Also note: There is heavy e-mail traffic to Senate offices now because many people are e-mailing their Senators concerning the impeachment trial.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the law that authorizes the majority of KÃÂ12 federal education programs. Very soon Congress will begin to reauthorize or re-write these laws. ESEA programs include Title I and the Eisenhower Professional Development Program.
***This is the letter which was approved by the NSTA Executive Committee this morning and sent to the Department of Education.***
To the Department of Education:
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is extremely alarmed with the DepartmentÃÂs proposed plan to combine Goals 2000, Title VI, and the Eisenhower Professional Development Program into one initiative broadly defined as a new ÃÂTeacher QualityÃÂ program. We can not support any legislation which would, in effect, terminate the Title II, Part B Eisenhower set-aside authorized by the Congress in the 1994 ESEA to provide specific professional development grant funding for science, math, and other core curriculum educators.
As work begins with ESEA reauthorization, there is a great deal of discussion about student achievements and the federal programs which can best maximize student outcomes. This is a laudable goalÃÂbut one that can only be reached with effective, well-trained classroom teachers. We can all agree on this.
But in light of this proposal, it appears we can not agree on the federal investment we need to provide crucial professional development to our nation ÃÂs hundreds of thousands of science teachers, who for years have relied on the Eisenhower program.
In the past year the Administration, with Congressional support, has taken several steps to strengthen teacher training programs in several areas of K-12 education, most notably a $260 million literary initiative, a $75 million technology program, and improved teacher education training outlined in the Higher Education Act. In addition, the Department and the National Science Foundation have announced several joint initiatives aimed at improving math education, particularly at the middle level.
These are commendable programs which address reading, technology, and math education. Now we ask for your attention and continued support for science education.
Over the years NSTA and its members have stood with the Department of Education to oppose many of the draconian measures introduced by members of Congress. We did this because science educators and administrators told us two things: they do not want to lose the Eisenhower program, and they do not want block grants. Instead of combining existing federal resources, we propose that the Administration consider a new teacher quality program targeted to the states/local districts which give all teachers more time, more support, and more funding to pursue training opportunities.
We reject any proposal which attempts to eliminate Title II. We strongly urge the Administration to continue their investment in the ongoing professional development activities for teachers funded by the Eisenhower Professional Development program. We look forward to working with you on this issue.
The NSTA Executive Committee
****************************************** ED-FLEX Passes Senate Subcommittee The Education and Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999, introduced by Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), was passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday evening, Jan. 27. The bill allows nationwide expansion of the current 12-state Ed-Flex program.
Ed-Flex gives the Department of Education authority to waive the requirements on specific federal programs (including Title I and Eisenhower) and use these funds in other areas if the state and/or district can demonstrate those requirements impede on their ability to improve the education they provide.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has promised quick action on this bill following the impeachment trial. For more information, see Legislative Updates section on the NSTA website at http://www.nsta.org.
********************************** Representatives Prepare to Attack E-rate This information comes from the American Library Association.
On January 26 the new Republican representative from Colorado, Tom Tancredo, and returning representatives Pete Sessions (R-TX) and Ed Royce (R-CA) sent a Dear Colleague letter stating their intent to introduce legislation to end the E-rate.
The letter, which is being widely circulated on Capitol Hill, is designed to garner co-sponsors for their legislation, the E-Rate Termination Act. The letter portrays the E-rate as a "backdoor tax" that is not needed because of existing Department of Education funding that is earmarked "to improve technological capabilities."
While the proposed bill has not yet been introduced, it is not too early to show opposition for the idea of "terminating" the E-rate. This latest activity on the Hill underscores the need to educate or remind legislators that the E-rate is the only federal program that funds the ongoing costs of connectivity, Internet services, and, for some, internal connections. This is not a program just for schools; all eligible libraries may apply as well.
The Education and Libraries Networks Coalition (EdLiNC), a coalition seeking to expand the use of educational technologies in schools and libraries by making sure that these entities are given the affordable rate which is guaranteed to them in Universal Service Provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has provided an online Action Kit at http://www.edlinc.org. The kit contains sample thank-you letters and publicity ideas for those who are receiving year 1 E-rate discounts.
ALAWON (ISSN 1069-7799) is a free, irregular publication of the American Library Association Washington. For more information, go to http://www.ala.org/washoff/alawon
***************************************************** Sign Up Now for NCTM Legislative Conference!
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Legislative Conference, March 8-9, 1999, offers an opportunity for participants to become active in shaping policy decisions on the local level.
Those attending will meet with advocacy leaders representing parents, school boards, and teachers, (to name a few) and hear first hand how to work in unison with these groups on the local level.
Workshops will also focus on forming advocacy networks and enhancing local efforts in the areas of public policy and legislative affairs. In addition, participants will have two-to-three personal meetings scheduled with their local representatives and senators.
The NCTM Legislative Conference is open to all mathematics and science educators. However, we do ask that you make a commitment to sharing your experience and expertise with your colleagues.
There is no fee to attend the Legislative Conference, and most meals are included (travel and lodging costs are the responsibility of the individual or a supporting Affiliated Group). The conference will take place at the Washington Court on Capitol Hill; two blocks from the U.S. Capitol, Senate and House offices. Each participant is responsible for making his/her own room reservations by contacting the hotel directly at 525 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20001; phone (202) 628-2100. A block of rooms is set aside at the guaranteed room rate of $165 per night. [The room rate is the same for both single and double occupancy, so you can save money by sharing a room with a colleague.]
The deadline for guaranteed room reservations at the Washington Court is February 4, 1999. The deadline for conference registration is February 12.
To obtain a registration form for NCTM's Legislative Conference, please contact your Affiliated Group president or call Jenny Russell, NCTM communications assistant, at (703) 620-9840 ext. 2107; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
******************************************* * 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: email@example.com