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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
Posted: Mar 13, 2000 7:38 PM
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NSTA Legislative Alert, March 13, 2000

Senate HELP Committee Passes ESEA Reauthorization Bill

*Set Aside for Science and Math Professional Development Voted Down*

On Thursday, March 9, the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions
Committee passed S. 2, the bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act. It passed by a party line vote of 10 to 8 (there are 10
Republican Senators and 8 Democrat Senators on the committee).

Most of the Democrat amendments failed during committee markup,
including the Teacher Quality amendment by Senator Kennedy, which included
language to restore specific professional development funds for science and
math educators.

A number of significant amendments made by Republicans were accepted and are
now part of this bill, including:

Straight A's Block Grant. This would allow 15 states to consolidate most
federal programs (including Eisenhower) into one funding stream (as a demo
program). The House passed similar legislation last fall. Introduced by
Senator Gregg (D-NH).

Public School Choice. Requires public school choice for students who attend
schools in need of improvement or corrective action to transfer to higher
performing schools. Allows districts to use Title I funds for transportation
costs for these students. Also allows students from unsafe schools to use
Title I funds to transfer to another school. Introduced by Senator Gregg.

Title I portability: Allows 10 states and 20 LEAs to direct Title I, Part A
funds directly to the child and make Title I portable through a voucher.
Introduced by Senator Gregg.

In addition to Kennedy's amendment on teacher training, other Democratic
amendments which were introduced and failed (by a vote on party lines)
included $1.3 billion for school construction and a proposal to hire more
teachers to reduce class size.

Democrats and Education Secretary Riley have strongly denounced this bill.
Senator Kennedy stated, "Today, the Republicans show their true colors by
turning a bad education bill into an even worse right-wing bill." He
promised a battle over S. 2 when the bill comes to the Senator floor for a
vote. For Secretary Riley's remarks, visit

This bill may come to the Senate floor for FINAL PASSAGE as early as April.
If you do not like this legislation, your Senators need to hear from you
NOW. Tell them the problems with S. 2 and ask them to support a continued
set aside for science and math teacher professional development in S. 2 of

The Senate is in recess this week and many Senators are back in their
states. If you can make a call to his/her state office this week (and PLEASE
encourage others to call as well), reply to with your
state and your city and I will forward the phone numbers for your Senators'
district offices.

If you can't call PLEASE EMAIL to express your views on this legislation.
PLEASE ask your colleagues to email as well. Go to and click on your
Senator(s) to
send an email. Only send email to the Senators who represent your state, and
PLEASE include your postal address in the email. Ask your Senator to respond
to your message.

It is important that you call now, and we will very likely ask you to call
again when S. 2 is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. Thanks for your
patience, please call, and ask your colleagues to call as well!!
For more information on NSTA, or to become a member, visit our website at
Jodi Peterson
Editor, NSTA Reports!
Director, Legislative Affairs
National Science Teachers Association

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618) 453-4244
Phone: (618) 453-4241 (office)
(618) 457-8903 (home)


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