The U.S. Capitol may be thousands of miles away, but the voices of California educators and education support professionals are heard there loudly through the efforts of CTA/National Education Association Directors and our national affiliate.
Last month, CTA/NEA Directors traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet width the California Congressional delegation on critical issues before federal lawmakers.
On the financial side, the CTA/NEA Directors pressed Republican and Democratic Congresspersons to find a compromise that will head off automatic cuts in federal programs, including services that will hurt children, public schools, and public workers. The NEA Directors also asked congress to take positive steps to head off the “sequestration” or automatic funding cuts that threaten to throw the economy back into recession and reduce revenues that underwrite public services.
The directors have been battling the automatic cuts that as early as March 1 would:
- Cut education programs by another 8.2%.
- Propel funding backward to 2003 levels.
- Slash $135 billion in Title 1 funding for California.
- Reduce funding for IDEA in the state by another $100 million.
- Pare appropriations for Impact Aid by $5.2 million.
- And reduce funding for the Head Start program by an additional $78 million.
They made sure federal legislators understood that cuts of that magnitude would force districts to reduce staff, increase class size, shorten school days or weeks, reducing activities and enrichment programs and delay the purchases of instructional materials and technology.
In addition, the CTA/NEA representatives talked to federal lawmakers about steps they can take to make schools safer and prevent gun violence. They advocated a three-element approach. First, expanding background checks to weed our would-be purchasers who should not be in possession of firearms. Second, providing more services for persons width mental illnesses. And, third, a providing schools width the flexibility and authority to make decisions about implementing further school safety measures and hiring school safety personnel.
The member lobbyists also sought the passage of the “Dream Act,” which will help long-time U.S. residents afford college. The Directors also called for passage of this measure as part of a comprehensive immigration reform. Among its benefits, the Dream Act would allow long-time residents who have graduated high school to pursue a college education. As college graduates, they would help meet the nation’s needs for college-educated workers while providing tax revenue to underwrite vital services, including public education.
The Directors noted that state and local taxpayers have invested in the education of these youngsters. The state and the nation would benefit from that investment because of
the Dream Act’s provisions.
For more information, see the NEA Legislative Action Center
at the NEA website – nea.org.
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