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Topic: NSTA Legislative Alert - Januaryt 29, 1999
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,518
Registered: 12/3/04
NSTA Legislative Alert - Januaryt 29, 1999
Posted: Jan 31, 1999 4:38 PM
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NSTA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

January 29, 1999

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:

By mail:

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):

By e-mail:

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 K–12 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 Department’s proposed plan to combine Goals 2000, Title VI, and the
Eisenhower Professional Development Program into one initiative broadly
defined as a new “Teacher Quality” 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 goal—but 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
’s 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.

Sincerely

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:
jrussell@nctm.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: jbecker@siu.edu





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