The National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network (FRN) involves local school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to grassroots advocacy for public education. The FRN gives members an opportunity to make a difference in the education of our nation’s public school children. The ultimate goal of FRN advocacy is to make public education a top priority of the federal government.
MABE's Participation in the Federal Relations Network (FRN)
MABE's FRN Committee meets throughout the year to discuss pending issues and coordinate meetings on Capitol Hill. The committee is comprised of board members appointed to represent the association in communicating NSBA and MABE positions to Maryland's federal delegation, including our two U.S. Senators and eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition, MABE representatives attend the annual FRN conference in Washington D.C., and participate in the "Day on the Hill" congressional office visits.
MABE encourages all boards of education to participate in FRN and engage in advocacy at the federal level to ensure that our federal officials are well informed on the priorities and perspectives of local school systems and the fiscal and policy issues arising under the myriad federal programs impacting public education.
For additional information, contact John Woolums, MABE's Director of Governmental Relations at (410) 841-5414 or email@example.com.
In the Senate – On June 4, 2013, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013, a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replace the failed tenets of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The bill has been co-sponsored by every Democratic member of the HELP Committee, including the Committee’s second highest ranking member, Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski. On Wednesday, June 12th the HELP Committee passed S. 1094 with Democaratic support and Republican opposition.
In the House - On July 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Student Success Act, H.R. 5. The bill passed by a vote of 221 to 207, with no Democrats voting in support.
Note: NSBA supports H.R. 5, but opposes the Title I portabillity provisions adopted through an amendment offered by Rep. Cantor. Click here for the AASA critique of the Title I portability amendment.
In addition, H.R. 5 was amended to include major provisions of the NSBA initiated Local Governance Flexibility Act, discussed below. Click here for NSBA's letter supporting H.R. 5.
To learn more, read the full Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on both House and Senate approaches to reauthorizing ESEA.
ESEA Reauthorization: NSBA's and MABE’s Position - What to Tell Congress
MABE joins the National School Boards Association (NSBA) in urging local school boards and other stakeholders to tell members of Congress that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act established a rigorous but theoretical accountability system for the nation's public schools. Unfortunately, what has evolved in the name of accountability is a measurement framework that bases its assessment of school quality on a student's performance on a single assessment; and mandates a series of overbroad sanctions not always targeted to the students needing services, and, to date, not yet proven to have a significant impact on improving student performance and school performance.
Maryland's local school board members need to tell their members of Congress that after eleven years of enactment of the federal law, local school districts continue to struggle to comply with the language of the law at a time when the unintended consequences of this complex law are imposing far more dysfunctional and illogical implementation problems than had been anticipated by the sponsors of the legislation. Additionally, federal and state lawmakers have become increasingly aware that successful attainment of the desired national goals is very much dependent upon the capacity of the state departments of education and the capacity of local school districts.
NSBA proactively provided to the Senate HELP committee staff an NSBA report, The report focuses on one of the problems of the Senate's version of ESEA – the ESEA Title I comparability provision.
To learn more about NSBA's recommendations for the reauthorization of ESEA, including how to Take Action on H.R.5 and S.1094:
The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act
NSBA's and MABE's Position & What to Tell Congress
MABE joins NSBA in urging Maryland's boards of education to request that their members of Congress in the House of Representatives join their colleagues as co-sponsors of the NSBA bill, the Local School Board Governance & Flexibility Act (H.R. 1386). View the Issue Brief.
This legislation would recognize the vital role and responsibilities of local school board governance and local school district decision-making in designing, developing and delivering high quality educational services for our nation’s schoolchildren. The legislation also would ensure that the U.S. Department of Education fulfills its role as a policy implementer rather than a policy-maker, and performs that role with proper recognition of local governance.
Bottom Line: the U.S. Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities on our nation’s local school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and minimizing local control. Local school boards are in the best position to judge the needs of their educational communities.
Federal Funding for Public Education: Senate Appropriations Committee Update
NSBA and MABE continue to advocate for increased federal funding for education. On July 11, 2013, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported its recommendations for a Fiscal Year 2014 funding bill that would reverse the budget cuts to education programs from sequestration and would increase funding for Title I grants and special education. Specifically, the measure would appropriate a $1.6 billion increase for Head Start that consists of $1.4 billion to “expand Early Head Start, including the creation of new Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships, to serve children and families from before birth through age 3.”
In 2012 and early 2013, MABE encouraged all local boards of education to adopt resolutions to urge Maryland's federal delegation to take action to avoid the drastic cuts to federal education funding that would result from "sequestration". Sequestration refers to the mandated across-the-board reductions in all discretionary domestic and military spending beginning in fiscal 2013. Click here for more information and MABE's Stop Sequestration! Advocacy Packet.