Legislative Action Team Advisory

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Letter to Senator Frist from IRA 3:00 PM 12/21/05

December 21, 2005

The Honorable William H. Frist
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Frist:

Several policy changes that will harm public education are included in the important legislative agenda the United States Senate will be considering over the next several hours. I urge you and your colleagues to act in the best interests of America’s neediest children as you consider Department of Education funding, and funding for students displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

In particular, the International Reading Association is concerned about two proposals.

* The proposed across the board cut to education will do further damage to the ability of schools to close the achievement gap, which persists as the recent National Assessment of Education Progress demonstrates.

* Students displaced by Hurricane Katrina will be best served through limited use of public funds for private school students. The most equitable approach to rebuilding the education infrastructure is a public-private fund for the development of long-term support. Private schools should not be rebuilt before all public school construction has even begun.

As Alan Greenspan said in February 2004, “….one critical element in creating those opportunities (for an effective economy) is to provide rigorous education and ongoing training to all members of our society. This proposal is not novel; it is, in fact, the strategy that we have followed successfully for most of the past century and a strategy that we now should embrace with renewed commitment.”

Please urge your colleagues to ensure that children who are the most in need of a high quality education have schools that have the resources that they need.


Alan E. Farstrup
Executive Director


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