Legislative Action Alert: October 14, 2011


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LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT: October 14, 2011

Dear NCSS Members:

Earlier this week, Senate HELP Committee Chairman Harkin (IA) released his draft re-write of No Child Left Behind. We expect it to be voted on in committee on Tuesday, October 18th. We understa nd that there may be an opportunity to elevate the social studies in the legislation, but we have to act fast.

The current draft focuses federal funds allocated to states on literacy, language arts and math. None of the elements of the proposed "well rounded bucket," including history, geography, or economics, are included. The good news: there is a competitive grant for development of innovative, scalable approaches to civics education in the "programs of national significance" section of the draft.

We understand that Chairman Harkin is preparing a so-called "manager's amendment" - an amendment to his own bill - for Tuesday. The language for the manager's amendment must be finalized today by 2:30 pm east coast time, and will be made public on Monday. He is considering adding funding for a "well rounded education" in his manager's amendment, and that could include resources for the social studies. Members of the HELP Committee need to hear from us, today, in support of including the social studies in the manager's amendment. (Please note: if we find out on Monday that there is good news for social studies, we will send out another alert asking you to call your Senators and urge them to vote YES on the amendment. That will be another quick turnaround, since votes are scheduled for Tuesday morning. So please keep your eye on the email on Monday in case we need you to make another call.)

The following members sit on the HELP Committee and have not yet announced that they are voting against the bill. If you are from one of these states, it is URGENT that you phone AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE TODAY with the message below:

You can call the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be transferred to your Senator's office, or you can call directly. If you know the name of the staffer who works on education policy, you can send an email or call and ask to leave a message for that person. If you don't know the staffer's name, phone the appropriate number below ask if you can leave a voice mail message for the person who handles the ESEA reauthorization for the Senator.

Alaska - Senator Murkowski - 202-224-6665
Colorado - Senator Bennett - 202-224-5852
Connecticut - Senator Blumenthal - 202-224-2823
Georgia - Senator Isakson - 202-224-3643
Illinois - Senator Kirk - 202-224-2854
* Iowa - Chairman Harkin - 202-224-3254
Kansas - Senator Roberts - 202-224-4774
Maryland - Senator Mikulski - 202-224-4654
Minnesota - Senator Franken - 202-224-5641
New Mexico - Senator Bingaman - 202-224-5521
North Carolina - Senator Hagan - 202-224-6342
Oregon - Senator Merkely - 202-224-3753
Pennsylvania - Senator Casey - 202-224-6324
Rhode Island - Senator Whitehouse - 202-224-2921
Tennessee - Senator Alexander - 202-224-4944
Utah - Senator Hatch - 202-224-5251
Vermont - Senator Sanders - 202-224-5141
Washington - Senator Murray - 202-224-2621
* Wyoming - Ranking Member Enzi - 202-224-3424

Message:

My name is _____ and I am calling from (place name in state). I am calling to urge the inclusion of the social studies in the reauthorization of ESEA.

One of the problems with No Child Left Behind is that it focused too narrowly on English and math. As social studies were squeezed out of the curriculum, students missed out on the vital information and critical thinking skills taught in history, civics, geography and economics. This information, and these critical thinking skills, are vital to citizens in a democracy and adult success in the workplace.

I thank Chairman Harkin for including competitive grants for innovative approaches to civic education in the programs of national significance. I understand the Chairman is considering a "well rounded education" addition in his manager's amendment. I hope Senator (fill in name of office you are calling) will support inclusion of the social studies in the "well rounded education" and in the bill.

Thank you for your time and attention.

To view Ana Post's Blog Posting: http://connected.socialstudies.org/SOCIALSTUDIES/SOCIALSTUDIES/Go.aspx?c...

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