FIELD NOTES: Update on Tax Reform - National Council of Teachers of English
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FIELD NOTES: Update on Tax Reform

UPDATE: Details of the Tax Bill 

Here is the status of the three provisions we’ve been tracking in the final version of the Tax Bill that the House and Senate are voting on this week:

  • Teacher tax deductions: maintained at $250.
  • Tax exemption for graduate school waivers: this provision has been maintained.
  • Graduate student loan deduction: this provision has been maintained.

Thanks to all our members who have called and written on these issues. More than 800 letters have been sent since we put out this call.

As the status of these three provisions indicates, teacher voices matter. We urge you to keep talking to your elected representatives about what’s important to you.


12/7/2017 2:30 p.m. ET
UPDATE: Speak Up about Tax Deductions for Teachers

As expected, the House and Senate have moved the tax reform process into Conference Committee and will now craft a final bill pulling elements from the versions each has passed. Because the three provisions NCTE has been concerned about are present in the House bill, it is critical that we communicate with all representatives the importance of not eliminating these deductions for teachers in the final version of the bill. Since November, NCTE members have sent hundreds of letters to legislators about the tax bill, it’s time to ramp up these efforts.

While the pressure should most directly be applied to those appointed to serve on the Conference Committee that is assembling the final bill, all House and Senate members will be voting on the final bill and so all have a voice in what does or does not get passed.

Please speak out and let legislators know that any tax bill should not eliminate these provisions. You can easily send an email or call the Capitol switchboard to leave a message using this action toolkit.

If you live in the states represented by these legislators on the Conference Committee, it is especially important that they hear from you this week as they negotiate the final bill.


Don Young, AK
Raúl Grijalva, AZ
Devin Nunes, CA
Kathy Castor, FL
Peter Roskam, IL
John Shimkus, IL
Richard Neal, MA
Sandy Levin, MI
Greg Walden, OR
Kristi Noem, SD
Diane Black, TN
Kevin Brady, TX
Lloyd Doggett, TX
Rob Bishop, UT



Lisa Murkowski, AK
Tom Carpenter, DE
Debbie Stabenow, MI
Bob Menendez, NJ
Rob Portman, OH
Ron Wyden, OR
Pat Toomey, PA
John Cornyn, TX
Tim Scott, SC
John Thune, SD
Orrin Hatch, UT
Bernie Sanders, VT
Maria Cantwell, WA
Patty Murray, WA
Mike Enzi, WY


Act Now


In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the US Senate passed its version of a tax reform bill known as Tax Cuts and Job Acts. As the media documented and will surely recount in days to come, tensions were high as the Senate’s negotiations continued to change dramatically up until the final vote. As you know, we have been paying close attention to three specific provisions that most directly impact our members professionally. We’ve been asking for your help to speak out about these provisions over the past few weeks. Here is an update on how they fared in the Senate bill.

  • Teacher tax deductions: The Senate voted to not only protect the teacher expense deduction, but to support it growing from $250 to $500.
  • Tax exemption for graduate school waivers: The Senate bill does not contain the House provision to make tuition waivers for graduate students subject to income tax.
  • Graduate student loan deduction: The Senate also avoided adding a provision to eliminate this tax deduction.

While there’s much more under discussion with education and tax policy, the three provisions above are those we were in greatest position to directly affect, both for and with our members.


What’s Next

The House and Senate will now select members to represent each legislative entity in the conferencing process. NCTE will again activate our action alert system, which enables easy contact with congressional offices, once the conference committee is established. Raising our voices again will be essential in this next phase. We have strong reasons to believe the conference committee will play an outsized role in determining the final bill.

We will communicate next steps via social and email as soon as we have more information.


Emily Kirkpatrick
Executive Director