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ESEA Agreement Nears!!!

As reported in The Washington Post, Politico and Education Week, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), America’s biggest education law that governs our schools, is entering its final phases in the House and the Senate.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress met this week to begin to iron out the final version of the bill, and to make sure it includes what students and educators need in the classroom, they need to hear from you.

The details in this reauthorization of this bill will matter. Call your representative now by dialing 866-331-7233, and then entering your ZIP code. We’ll give you everything you need to advocate over the phone.

When we started on this journey, we had a short list of important asks:

  • Ensure students have access to the supports they need to succeed by making opportunity for all students a priority.
  • Reduce the absurd amount of testing our students face and end the high-stakes and punish decisions attached to them.
  • Give educators an increased voice as part of the education policy process.

We are optimistic that Congress is listening, but we have to ensure that these elements remain in the new ESEA. Call your representative now: 866-331-7233. It will only take a few minutes!

The passage of this law will not be the end of an effort. It will actually be the beginning of our effort to implement the law that is a victory for students in every zip code.

We’re nearly there. Thank you for taking action!


Mary Kusler
Director of Government Relations
National Education Association



Here is the lastest, most up-to-date information from the JCTA, KEA and NEA offices. To read our Action newsletter, just click on the tab at the top.



Over the last year we have moved mountains to get legislation moving in Congress to replace the failure known as ‘No Child Left Behind.’ We are now in the final stretch and need your help to ensure final passage of the new version of ESEA.

We are almost to the finish line and your action could help put us over the line! A version of the bill has passed both the House and Senate and Congressional leadership is close to reaching agreement on a final bill. Now we need you to make the voices of educators heard!





Here is what we need you to do:

1. Contact your member of Congress-both Senators and Representatives-using whatever method you are most comfortable with: phone, email or even twitter. Urge them to get the current ESEA bill finished!



2. Take an individual or group selfie with this
'Get ESEA Done' sign and post it to Instagram, Facebook, or twitter. The important thing is that they make your voice heard and then spread the word!

It’s time to #GetESEARight. Thank you for our help on this - together we will make it happen

KEA Leaders Vote Conway-Overly

This commentary was submitted by Kentucky Education Association president Stephanie Winkler and past presidents Sharron Oxendine, Frances Steenbergen, Judith Gambill, Janet Carrico, David Allen, John Henrickson, Joyce Dotson, June Lee, Wayne Harvey, Jim Sproul and Doris Morton.

As presidents of the Kentucky Education Association, we have had the opportunity to promote the commonwealth's public schools and to advocate for the students and families who depend on them.

We have had the honor of speaking for the teachers and classified employees without whom the current remarkable accomplishments of those students and those schools would not be possible.

We know well how much the future of our schools, our students and our colleagues depend on the philosophy, goals and commitments of the governor we elect on Nov. 3.

We ask that all Kentuckians who value public education as we do consider the candidates' positions on three critical issues.

For generations far too many Kentucky students entered elementary classrooms without the proper foundation on which to build. Simply put, some students were beginning school already behind.

Early-childhood programs like Head Start were begun to address that lack of preparedness. Jack Conway and Sannie Overly would expand early-childhood initiatives and ensure all Kentucky children enter school ready to learn. Matt Bevin has declared that early childhood education "serves no purpose" and funding should be reconsidered.

Bevin's running mate, Jenean Hampton, has stated Head Start is used to "start the indoctrination sooner," as if to suggest that giving an early start on their education to children who need it most is part of some nefarious conspiracy.

In our respective school districts across Kentucky, each of us observed far too many students who were unable to receive necessary medical attention because their families lacked health insurance.

It was common for these students to come to school when they should have been seeing a physician; they were trying to learn in spite of being sick.

Sadly, this practice put other students — and school employees — at risk and often contributed to the spread of flu and other illnesses, which disrupted the lives of many other students and their families.

Thanks to the recent expansion of Medicaid coverage through Kynect (which has been held up as a national model of excellence in the provision of health care coverage to those least able to afford it), more families than ever before have access to affordable medical care, and do not have to send their children to school sick or, worse, keep them at home untreated.

Conway and Overly will ensure that tens of thousands of Kentucky students do not suddenly lose the ability to see a doctor. Bevin has dismissed this expanded Medicaid coverage (and Kynect) "as a disastrous package of costs" and vowed to "reverse that immediately."

As participants in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System, we know how important it is for school employees to have a defined benefit retirement program, not one which relies upon the stock market and is subject to its fluctuations and losses.

Conway and Overly understand that as well. Bevin promises, on the one hand, to replace KTRS with a 401(k) plan and, on the other, muses about abandoning KTRS altogether and moving teachers to Social Security — from which they currently are excluded by federal law.

The latter could not be accomplished as easily as Bevin seems to think, and the former would be financially devastating to Kentucky's teachers.

The membership of the Kentucky Education Association has demonstrated for decades the ability to advance the cause of public education in Kentucky. Next month's election presents another such opportunity.

We urge all current and former school employees and all persons concerned about the future of Kentucky's children to join us in voting for Conway and Overly. Our students and our professions deserve no less.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/10/26/4105212_kea-leaders-vote-conway-overly.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Matt Bevin's Blueprint Bankrupts the Bluegrass State

Matt Bevin’s refusal to tell the truth about where he stands on critical issues is well documented. But equally concerning, the policy proposals that Bevin has articulated would effectively bankrupt Kentucky – not only hurting our hardworking families, but also decimating the Commonwealth’s finances.

Consider the price tag for Bevin’s proposals on three key policy areas: pensions, education, and healthcare.

The Price Tag for Bevin’s Pension Plan: $8 Billion Over 15 Years, Hundreds of Millions To End The Kentucky Teacher Retirement System.

Bevin’s plan for Kentucky’s pension system involves moving new hires into a 401k-style program. This is problematic for two reasons. First, Bevin’s Plan would force retirees to gamble with their retirement on the stock market.

Second, moving retirees onto a 401k plan would have serious fiscal implications for Kentucky’s budget. An independent report found that a plan similar to Bevin’s would cost the retirement system $8 billion over the next 15 years – as the state is forced to increase contributions to cover a rising number of retirees without as many incoming workers making contributions. Leaders of the Kentucky Retirement System have previously testified against a Bevin-style plan for exactly this reason.

Additionally, Bevin’s latest proposal to move Kentucky teachers over to Social Security would have a catastrophic impact on teachers, the KTRS system and on Kentucky’s budget.

Kentucky teachers receive a higher retirement benefit through the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System than they would under Social Security. The average benefit that teachers receive is $3,042 on KTRS. The average benefit that Kentuckians on Social Security receive is $1,173. That means that teachers on Social Security under Matt Bevin would ultimately receive lower retirement benefits.

Putting teachers on Social Security would also add huge costs to Kentucky’s budget. According to KTRS, the cost of moving Kentucky’s teachers to Social Security would be at least $600 million per year – more than the actuarially required contribution for FY 2016-2017. That cost would be in addition to the $520 million that Kentucky will have to pay in FY 2016-2017 to meet the full actuarially required contribution for those remaining in KTRS.

And while Bevin has described himself as a pension expert, his pension experience has come under scrutiny. The State Journal reported that Bevin’s pension record was “less than stellar,” detailing how his pension firm charged “above-average” taxpayer-funded fees while losing money for retirees.

The Price Tag for Bevin’s Education Plan: $35 Million.

Despite the fact that college readiness for students has increased from 31 percent to 62 percent since the adoption of the Kentucky Core Academic Standards, Bevin has pledged to “lead the charge” in repealing school standards.

What Bevin isn’t telling Kentucky is that repealing the Standards is estimated to cost Kentucky 35 million dollars, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. When Bevin was pressed about this cost, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce reported that Bevin “said that amount would not be the problem.”

Repealing school standards in other states has been expensive as well. In Tennessee, repealing standards as Bevin would is projected to cost $4.14 million over a three-year period. Similarly, in New York repeal of standards was estimated to cost the state $280 million.

The Price Tag for Dismantling Kynect: $23 Million and Higher Fees.

Bevin has pledged to “dismantle” Kynect through an executive order as governor. Setting aside the dire implications for healthcare, the fiscal repercussions of Bevin’s policy would be disastrous for Kentucky’s bottom line – while also spiking fees on Kentuckians.

Kynect officials estimated that Bevin’s plan to end the state exchange and transfer Kentucky’s healthcare system to the federal exchange would cost Kentucky at least $23 million in IT work alone, while taking at least 9 months to complete the transition.

Additionally, Bevin’s healthcare plan could dramatically spike insurance premiums for consumers. Kynect is currently funded through a 1 percent assessment on plans sold through the exchange. Under the federal system, that assessment would rise to the surcharge on insurance plans sold on the federal exchange of 3.5 percent.


There’s no denying that Bevin is still refusing to come clean with Kentuckians about many of his proposals. He infamously answered a question about his budget priorities by saying “If I told you that I’d have to kill you.”

But the policies that Bevin has articulated regarding pensions, education, and healthcare would be fiscally catastrophic, driving Kentucky toward financial ruin for the sake of his political ambitions. Compounding Bevin’s problem is his plan for revenue – he has consistently failed to articulate how he will fund his policies and the government. In fact, WDRB’s John David Dyche wrote “governors in other states who have tried similar ‘supply side’ reforms have found themselves confronting big budget shortfalls.”

Bevin’s ideas are not only reckless for hardworking families – they demonstrate a fundamental failure to understand the significance of his policy proposals that will impact every individual within our Commonwealth.

Kentuckians already know that Bevin is an ‘East Coast Con Man’ who doesn’t tell the truth – but the price tag of his proposals is another reason we cannot trust him to serve as our governor.

Dana Mayton is the Senior Policy Advisor for the Conway-Overly campaign. Most recently, she was the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Relations and Special Assistant to the President at the University of Louisville. She previously served as the Deputy Attorney General in the Kentucky Attorney General's office and as Secretary of the Revenue Cabinet under Governor Paul Patton.

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