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Education Reporter

NEA Boasts About Victories
From NEA Legislative Agenda+  
The following is quoted verbatim from the NEA booklet
"Advancing NEA's Legislative Agenda," July 1995.

In stark contrast to the 104th Congress, the 103rd will be remembered as the most pro-education Congress in more than a decade, best exemplified by the passage of the NEA-supported reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Signed into law by President Clinton on October 20, 1994, the legislation authorizes $60 billion over five years in aid to public schools. At the same time, the Association lobbied for and won an $869 million increase in Fiscal Year 1995 funding for programs administered by the Department of Education.

NEA was successful in gaining $2 billion in grant programs for education, substance abuse and treatment, and jobs programs, as part of the $30.2 billion violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 signed by President Clinton in September of 1994.

NEA was able to defeat a wide range of attacks on public school, students, and education employees. These included a measure to promote government sponsored prayer in public schools, an amendment to create federal vouchers for private school tuition, and an amendment to place federal limits on instructional materials, instruction, counseling, and other services relating to sexual orientation.

These victories built upon substantial gains made earlier in the 103rd Congress: the enactment of Goals 2000 legislation and the creation of a new school-to-work program.

On January 26, 1995, the House voted to amend the U.S. Constitution to require that Congress pass a balanced federal budget, an extreme step toward eliminating the federal commitment to public education. NEA opposed the measure, which would have forced deep, across-the-board cuts to domestic programs leading to the elimination of education.

There is a common thread running through the Republican leadership's agenda: a commitment to "less." Less government, less perceived "intrusion." NEA continues to battle for funding at the federal and state level.

Congressional Contact Team
Much of NEA's legislative success in the past can be attributed to the effectiveness of the Congressional Contact Team (CCT) network. NEA, with an average of nearly 5,000 members in each of the nation's 435 congressional districts, is in a unique position to use at-home lobbying efforts to advance the cause of public education and improve the status of security of Association members.

The nearly 1,100 CCT members reflect NEA's diverse membership, including elementary and secondary, vocational, postsecondary, and retired education employees. They are trained and briefed at the state, regional, and national levels. CCT members provide a well- informed and dedicated force of grass-roots lobbyists who complement the efforts of the full-time Government Relations staff based in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. NEA's message is delivered to Congress through lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and at-home contacts with Representatives and Senators.

In addition to their role in advocating NEA's Legislative Program, CCT members are responsible for providing information to and building support among other NEA members and the public. During the 104th Congress, the CCT program has focused on opposing proposed cuts to education funding, the elimination of the Department of Education, and the federal voucher legislation. From March 27 to 29, 1995, CCT members gathered in Washington, D.C., to advance NEA's position on a continued federal commitment to public education.

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