PSAT for 10-18-11: Strike while ESEA is hot!

If you didn’t get a chance to call, fax or e-mail yesterday about ESEA, please do it today! Details are here.

Also, there’s a specific amendment to support (Bernie Sanders amendments) and one to stop (Bennett’s S 1250). Here’s the info passed on from Public Advocates:

Senate ESEA mark-up has been delayed until Wednesday, October 19th at 10:00 a.m. ET.  This means we have today and (tomorrow – not any more) to make calls and take action.  Please forward this action alert widely to your networks and members.  Thank you! 

URGENT: CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATORS NOW

MAKE SURE EVERY STUDENT HAS A FULLY PREPARED TEACHER ON DAY 1!

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is scheduled to mark-up a bill to reauthorize ESEA (formerly known as No Child Left Behind) next Tuesday, October 18 at 2:30 p.m. ET.  At the markup, critical amendments will be offered by Senators that will have a powerful impact on the future of student access to prepared and effective teachers.

Your Senators need to hear from you today!

Please take 5 minutes to contact your U.S. Senators and members of the Senate HELP Committee concerning the following amendments:

1.    ASK YOUR SENATORS TO SUPPORT THE AMENDMENTS OFFERED BY SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) REGARDING THE DEFINITION OF A HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHER

·        These amendments will call for an end to the practice of congregating the least prepared teachers in the highest need schools by strengthening the definition of a highly qualified teacher.

·        These amendments respond to the call of 81 civil rights, parent, disability, ELL and education organizations.

2.    ASK YOUR SENATORS TO OPPOSE THE AMENDMENT THAT WILL BE OFFERED BY SENATOR MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO), TO ADD S. 1250 TO ESEA.

·        S. 1250 would water down requirements for teacher preparation programs by creating separate and lower standards for preparation programs that prepare teachers for the neediest students. Oppose this amendment to end the practice of placing the least qualified teachers in the highest-need schools.

·        Please see this letter that was sent to Congress with concerns about S. 1250.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION!

If you have time, please also take a few minutes to contact other key members of the Senate HELP committee, even if they don’t represent your state.  Contact info and sample script is below. 

DEMOCRATIC TARGETS

Tom Harkin (IA) (COMMITTEE CHAIR): (202) 224-3254 (DC) (515) 284-4574 (Des Moines); web site contact site: http://harkin.senate.gov/contact_opinion.cfm

Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA): (866) 802-2833 (DC); (215) 405-9660 (Philadelphia); http://casey.senate.gov/contact/

Jeff Merkley (OR): (202) 224-3753; (503) 326-3386; http://merkley.senate.gov/contact/

Al Franken (MN): (202) 224-5641; (651) 221-1016; http://www.franken.senate.gov/?p=email_al

Barbara Mikulski (MD): (202) 224-4654; (410) 962- 4510; http://mikulski.senate.gov/contact/shareyouropinion.cfm

Sheldon Whitehouse (RI): (202) 224- 2921; (401) 453- 5294

Jeff Bingaman (NM): (202) 224-5521 (DC); (505) 346-6601 (NM); senator_bingaman@bingaman.senate.gov

Patty Murray (WA): Phone: (202) 224-2621 (DC); (866) 481-9186 (Seattle); http://murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme

Kay Hagan (NC): 202-224-6342; 919-856-4630; http://hagan.senate.gov/?p=contact

Richard Blumenthal (CT): 202-224-2823; 860-258-6940 http://www.blumenthal.senate.gov/contact/

REPUBLICAN TARGETS

Michael B. Enzi (WY) (RANKING REPUBLICAN): (888) 250-1879; (307) 739-9507; http://enzi.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-senator-enzi

Mark Kirk (IL): 202-224-2854; 312-886-3506; http://www.kirk.senate.gov/?p=comment_on_legislation

Orrin Hatch (UT): (202) 224-5251; (801) 524-4380; http://hatch.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-orrin

John McCain (AZ): (202) 224-2235; (602) 952-2410; http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

Pat Roberts (KS): (202) 224-4774; (785) 295-2745; http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EmailPat

Lisa Murkowski (AK): (202) 224-6665; (907) 271- 3735; http://murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=EMailLisa

Richard Burr (NC):202-224 3154 http://burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

Johnny Isakson (GA): (202) 224-3643; http://isakson.senate.gov/contact.cfm

Sample Phone Script or Email

My name is _________, and I’m a (student/parent/voter) from (city).
I am contacting you today to ask you to support Senator Bernie Sanders’ teacher quality and equity amendment to the ESEA reauthorization bill.  All students deserve to be taught by fully-prepared and effective teachers.  Senator Sanders’ amendment will strengthen ESEA to ensure this happens.  It will require teachers to have completed a minimum level of training on Day 1 in the classroom, and also require teachers to prove their effectiveness over time.  It will also help end the shameful practice of concentrating new, untrained teachers in schools serving low-income students, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities.

I also urge you to oppose Senator Michael Bennet’s amendment that would amend ESEA to lower standards for teacher preparation programs in a way that will particularly weaken the preparation of those teachers who teach our most high-need students.

Thank you!

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.