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House Members Endorse NEA's Favorite Bills

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At the beginning of November, the National Education Association sent a letter to members of Congress, telling them they would earn favorable grades for co-sponsoring bills the union supports.

By the Nov. 16 deadline, several members obliged, according to the Congressional Record. The five NEA-backed bills that would make the most dramatic changes to NCLB received 47 new co-sponsors before the NEA's deadline. (For a complete list of bills that the NEA supports, see this list.)

More Democrats than Republicans jumped on the union's bandwagon. Of the Republicans, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, was most notable. He added his name to three of the bills, two of which were sponsored by Democrats. As I've noted before, it's ironic that NEA is encouraging House members to support Rep. Young's bill to significantly rewrite NCLB. The union gave the Alaskan a 'D' for his legislative work for 2005-06.

It's hard to tell whether the number of new co-sponsors is significant. But note that, by comparison, those same bills received just six new supporters in October. Perhaps, the NEA's letter influenced a few decisions.

Senators, however, didn't seem to take note. Only three senators added their names to the five major NCLB bills backed by the NEA.


2 Comments

Some arithmetical/political analysis.

Three senators out of roughly 33 who are up for reelection. That's about 9%.

Forty-seven House members out of 435 who are up for reelection. That's about 11%.

Seen in this light, the disparity isn't that great.

I am surprised to see that the NEA has that much influence over members of congress. If they have that much influence, then they should be using their power more often!

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