Education Week - July 8, 2015 - (Page 20)

House, Senate Appropriations Bills Supreme Court Case Would Cut Back Ed. Dept. Funding Threatens Financing Of Teachers' Unions By Lauren Camera Despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama, Republicans in both chambers of Congress are pushing through appropriations bills for fiscal 2016 that adhere to congressionally mandated spending caps and would cut billions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Education and eliminate a slew of federal education programs. The Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives passed its funding bill on a party-line vote, 30-21, on June 24. The proposal would provide $64.4 billion for the Education Department, a $2.8 billion cut from fiscal 2015, and eliminate 20 programs, including School Improvement Grants, the Preschool Development Grant, and Investing in Innovation. A day later on the other side of the Capitol, the Appropriations Committee in the Senate passed its spending plan on a party-line vote, 16-14. The proposal would provide $65.5 billion for the Education Department, a $1.7 billion cut, and eliminate 10 programs, including Investing in Innovation and Preschool Development Grants-both major Obama administration initiatives-and Striving Readers, a literacy program. Both bills would provide increases for a handful of programs, including bumps of more than $100 million each for the Individuals with Disabil- ities Education Act and Head Start. The Senate bill would also include a $150 million increase for Title I grants for low-income students, and both bills would provide small increases for grants to support the creation of new charter schools. Democrats Rebuffed During the markup process, Democrats' pitches to increase or restore funding were outright rejected, though in the House, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the appropriations-subcommittee chairman, said he was interested in working with Democrats to find some way to increase funding for early-childhood education. "If we had a larger allocation, this is probably the number-one place I would turn to put additional dollars," Rep. Cole said. "I will continue to work with [Democrats] to see what we can do in this area. I do think this is money well spent, and it's money that saves money down the line." It's been more than six years since both the House and Senate appropriations committees cleared their appropriations bills, which also include funding for the departments of Health and Human Services and Labor. More than anything, lawmakers focused on the need for a budget deal that relieves them of their selfimposed across-the-board spending caps known as the sequester. "These caps were tight," conceded Fresh Entrants 2016 In GOP's Quest For White House TION ELEC Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who officially entered the 2016 presidential race June 15, has perhaps the most extensive record on education among all the Republican presidential hopefuls. Mr. Bush, who served two terms as Florida's governor before leaving office in 2007, has since left his role as head of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, the national K-12 policy group he founded. He had used the foundation to lobby other states to adopt policies similar to those he championed when he was governor regarding school choice and literacy. As governor, Mr. Bush successfully pushed his state to adopt a plan holding schools accountable using A-F letter grades. Under him, the state also instituted a voucher program, later struck down by the state Supreme Court. And in 2001, he signed into law a tax-credit scholarship program used by about 70,000 low-income students in the most recent school year. In 1999, Florida also allowed alternative certification for teachers. And in 2003, the state ended social promotion for 3rd graders who could not demonstrate literacy. More recently, although many other gop pres- Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. "I point out that that was required by the law, the Budget Control Act, and until we change that act, we have to live with what the law is." For the last two years, those caps have been avoided thanks to a budget deal brokered by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., back in 2013. But that deal expires at the end of this fiscal year, Sept. 30. "First and foremost, [the Senate appropriations bill] doubles down on the automatic budget cuts that Democrats and Republicans agree are terrible policy and should have never become law," Sen. Murray said. "That deal expires this year, and until we reach another one, each of these bills ... has no chance of becoming law." President Obama has vowed to veto any spending bill that locks in sequester-level funding, meaning that the current appropriations bills moving through both chambers likely won't see the light of day. And while lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recognize that the end of the fiscal year is just a few months away, they have yet to come up with a Plan B. "We could make the choice today to work together on a deal to remove the sequester and fund the government," said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee. "I do hope we can come together soon to find a solution to mindless austerity caps." idential hopefuls have come out against the Common Core State Standards, Mr. Bush has vigorously defended them. -ANDREW UJIFUSA Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal In his newly launched bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal brings a K-12 record heavy on positions involving the common standards and school choice. In 2012, for example, he approved a statewide expansion of vouchers to cover a greater range of students based on their household income and the rating of the public schools they attended. On the issue of the common core, Gov. Jindal was initially a supporter but now opposes the standards, as well as the aligned tests from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. He has made numerous, albeit unsuccessful, attempts in state court to ditch the standards and parcc. He still has an anti-common-core lawsuit against the federal government moving ahead -A.U. in federal court. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who announced his candidacy for the presidency on June 30, has a complex record on education policy that has attracted fierce supporters and detractors. The Republican, who took office in 2010, once backed the common core, but officially repu- 20 | EDUCATION WEEK | July 8, 2015 | CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 istrative cost of bargaining policies that benefit all teachers, such as salary increases. The Supreme Court's decision to take up the case was not a surprise. The precedent permitting publicsector unions to collect fair-share fees, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, narrowly dodged a bullet last year when the court stopped short of invalidating it in its ruling in Harris v. Quinn. A Ground-Shifting Case In that 5-4 decision, the court held that unions couldn't compel payment of the fees from Medicaid home-healthcare workers because they were not truly public employees, and therefore not covered under Abood. But writing for the majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. devoted page after page to undermining Abood, calling it "an anomaly" that doesn't fit well with First Amendment rights. In effect, the ruling invited a more focused challenge to the precedent. Enter Friedrichs, which takes aim at the California chapter of the National Education Association and several local affiliates. diated the standards in May. He has said the state would begin work on reviewing and improving them. His efforts to revamp the Newark district have been controversial. His 2011 pick as superintendent of the state-run district, Cami Anderson, recently said she would step down, and Gov. Christie has said the state would return Newark schools to local control. Gov. Christie also altered the state's laws governing teacher tenure in 2012, making tenure harder to obtain. He earned a reputation early on as a K-12 budgetcutter, but in his 2013 re-election campaign, he said the state was providing a record level of school funding. The fiscal 2016 budget he just signed, however, has reignited claims that he's slashed support for public education. -A.U. Real Estate Developer Donald Trump Real estate developer Donald Trump, who announced his intention to join the 2016 gop presidential-primary field June 16, has made clear where he differs from at least one rival on the hot-button issues of the common core. "The last thing we need is another Bush," Mr. Trump said of fellow candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at the Iowa Freedom Summit this year, according to a C-SPAN transcript. "He's totally in favor of common core." -ALYSON KLEIN The plaintiffs' argument in Friedrichs, in essence, contends that the very act of collective bargaining is political because the teachers' unions sometimes take positions-on seniority or evaluation, for example-that nonmembers may not support. The teachers bringing the case also object to the annual procedure for opting out of union membership. The nonunion teachers lost in a federal district court, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled last year that they could only win if Abood were overruled by the Supreme Court. The legal theory behind the suit, Mr. Adler said, represents a profound re-envisioning of the balance between individual and collective rights to political assembly that have guided about 50 years of employment and labor law. "There has been a gradual evolution of a constitutional doctrine holding that being forced to pay dues violates an individual's right to associate politically-and coerces one to be aligned with union policies and objectives in a way that violates First Amendment rights," he said. Unions Embattled According to its most recent federal labor filings, the 3 million-member nea has some 90,000 additional nonmember fee-payers. The American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.6 million members, did not give a figure for nonmembers who pay fees. The loss of fair-share fees would sting, but a bigger blow could be the potential departures of members who joined their local unions only because of the typically slim difference in cost between the fairshare fee and full membership. If the fair-share fee is eliminated, many such teachers may choose to boost their take-home pay by dropping their memberships. Meanwhile, the case comes on the heels of several years of political attacks on unions. The nea saw thousands of member losses after the 2010 election tilted statehouses rightward and several states prohibited or restrict collective bargaining. Critics of the fees have also doubled down. In March, Michigan became the 25th state to pass a right-to-work law prohibiting the collection of fair-share fees. "We hope the high court will follow through on last year's Harris decision and ensure that no public employee will ever again be forced to pay union dues to get or keep a job," said the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in a statement. Unions generally see the attack on fair-share fees as another attempt to weaken public-sector unions. They note that the push to overturn Abood and to craft right-to-work legislation has been

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - July 8, 2015

Education Week - July 8, 2015
Nev. Moves to Split Clark Co. District
Crazy Quilt of State Responses To Cries of Overtesting
Common Core Trickles Into All States
Advocates Scrutinize Head Start Proposals
Supreme Court To Decide Case On Union Fees
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Ed. School Critic Levine, MIT Partner to Launch Teacher-Prep ‘Lab’
Ariz.’s 20-Year-Old ELL Case May End, But Debate Rages On
Spelling—en Español—Catches On, With Bees in Multiple States
Blogs of the Week
ISTE Conference Examines How Tech Is Reshaping Education
Budgets, Testing Issues Took Legislative Stage
States Struggle With How to Ensure Good Teachers in All Schools
K-12 Issues Fall Within Suite of Recent High Court Rulings
In States, Plenty of Talk But Incremental Action on Early Ed.
Lengthy Floor Debate Looms for U.S. Senate Over ESEA Rewrite
Fresh Entrants in GOP’s Quest For White House
House, Senate Appropriations Bills Would Cut Back Ed. Dept. Funding
What We’ve Learned From a Longer School Day and Year
The Illusion of Closing The Achievement Gap
The ‘Power’ of Adversity
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Scholars: Challenging Racial Injustice Begins With Us

Education Week - July 8, 2015