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NEA Ads Target Senate Education Committee Lawmakers

By Alyson Klein — April 06, 2015 3 min read
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The U.S. Senate education committee is expected to consider a bill to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act on (or around) April 14. (Some details of what’s under discussion here.)

So to keep the pressure on lawmakers to pass a bill that it believes works for teachers, the National Education Association, a 3-million-member union, has launched a $500,000 ad buy in 13 states, all of which are home to members of the Senate education panel. The ad buy coincides with Easter recess, when many lawmakers will be back home in their states.

The ad, which pushes lawmakers to bolster educational equity and de-emphasize standardized testing, will run in select markets in those 13 states, all of which are home to a Senate education member.

The list includes Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the committee, and Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the top Democrat on the panel.

Also targeted are Republicans Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Susan Collins of Maine.

Democrats targeted include: Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Al Franken of Minnesota, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Wondering which members of the Senate education committee are not on the NEA’s list?

Five Republicans, including, Sens. Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Tim Scott of South Carolina, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana; just one Democrat, Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; plus one Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The ads coincide with a “week of action” for the NEA. For instance, educators in Oklahoma are holding a “common sense” testing tour, and in Maine, teachers are introducing a bunch of “time to teach” resolutions to their school boards.

So what’s in the NEA ad? Here’s a video of the Pennsylvannia version and a transcript of the generic ad:

Graphic: Educators speak out for students: It’s time to fix the Elementary and Secondary Education Act

TIKEILA: 3rd grade teacher

You shouldn’t be able to define a person by their ZIP code

MARIA: Education paraprofessional

Testing cannot close the gap between wealthy schools and poor schools.

JEREMY: H.S. physics teacher

And when we focus on standardized tests, and not on what the kid can actually do, we’re doing a disservice to the kid.

PAMELA: 2nd grade teacher

We need to lower the class sizes so that each student can get that one-on-one attention that they need.


They need access to art and to music, they need to be in P.E. classes.


What are we not teaching when we’re teaching to the test?


Tell Congress: Stand up for students. Fix ESEA. 866-331-7233

Of course, the NEA isn’t the only organization with an ad campaign aimed at influencing the Senate’s NCLB process. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which supports strong accountability, particularly for low-income and minority students has also run ads in Charlotte, N.C. (Burr’s state) and Memphis, Tenn., (Alexander’s state).

Right now, lawmakers in Washington are threatening to turn back the clock on the progress we’ve made in educating minority students.

For 50 years, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has been our country’s most effective tool for seeing that our children get a quality education. But some in Congress want to weaken it—and make it harder for parents to know whether their children are getting the education they deserve.

Our Senator, Richard Burr/Lamar Alexander, can make a difference in helping preserve the gains we’ve made—but only if we make our voices heard.

Call Senator Burr/Alexander today and urge him to ensure that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act gives our children the education they’re entitled to.

Paid for by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

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