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Oct 28

VASSP Conference Call with Senator Mark Warner

This summer in early August, Government Relations specialist Bet Neale spoke with Senator Mark Warner. Listed below is the summary of her conversation with Senator Warner.

Senator Warner:
It is a tough time to be an educator; recognize you are under assault. Stimulus helped but sequestration could mean an 8% cut in federal funding for public education = 9% in Title I; 8% in Title II (which includes professional development); 8% in IDEA. It is critical that we have a comprehensive, bi-partisan debt deal. (Warner a leader in that endeavor and working on a grand bargain – compromise; somewhat hopeful that something will be done to avoid sequestration after the Nov elections and before the January deadline)
Will work to re-authorize ESEA. Re: NCLB – good goals but waivers not good way to make education policy. Cannot kick can down road any longer and should see movement after election.

Answers to participant questions included advice and admonitions:

• Principals and other educators are leaders in their communities and must make the case for K-12 and your schools at the local level; be vocal and take on those who misrepresent the truth; urge compromise and bi-partisanship of local representatives.
• Understand that Ryan Budget poised to reduce federal spending on education, research and development, etc. from 16% of every federal dollar to 5% – unsustainable for K-12.
• Those who choose private route should pay out of their pockets, so must change Congress if you want to stop flow of public money to private enterprises.
• Principal training and development including mentoring important. One “challenged” school creates a bad impression for all – must emphasize progress and be willing to call out those in your ranks who do not make the grade.
• Disparity exists – all do not start at same level. Must pressure Congress to continue to fund K-12 at appropriate levels.
• Do not put your least experienced educators in the toughest schools; provide incentives to keep good educators where they are most needed.
• Turnaround schools during his Administration as Governor – should consider again and pay those teachers and administrators more if they perform and turn schools around.