July 22, 2017

Federal Advocacy Center


MABE's Federal Advocacy Program and Services

MABE's Federal Relations Network (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 advocating the positions of MABE and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) 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 NSBA's Advocacy Institute (formerly 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 MABE's FRN committee and NSBA's Advocacy Institute to engage in advocacy at the federal level. Only through these continuous efforts can we ensure that our federal officials are well informed on the priorities and perspectives of local boards of education and the fiscal and policy issues arising under the myriad federal programs impacting public education.

MABE's Federal Advocacy Center features current MABE and NSBA lobbying activities and resources on priority issues.  

For additional information, contact John Woolums, MABE's Director of Governmental Relations at (410) 841-5414 or jwoolums@mabe.org. 

Federal Highlights

Legislative Highlights – June 23, 2017

Senate Moves Forward With Health Care Repeal

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate released its much-anticipated bill repealing the Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare." A member of Senator Robert Casey's (D-PA) staff participated in an informative CSALS call as soon as the legislation was released to update members on the details of the bill that were available. While we are still working to review the legislation, we can report that the Senate bill is as damaging to school-based Medicaid as the House-passed bill.  Like the House bill, the Senate legislation converts Medicaid to a per capita grant program which will:

  • Force states to ration health care services to children.
  • Force schools to compete with other medical providers for limited funding.
  • Shift the bulk of the mandated costs of providing health care coverage to the States even though health needs and costs of care for children will remain the same or increase.
  • Make basic health screenings for vision, hearing, and mental health problems for students unfeasible, making these problems more difficult to address and expensive to treat.
  • Result in fewer health services in schools and significant difficulty in providing services to students with special needs.

Here is NSBA's most recent call to action and sample letter. You may use it as a guide in drafting your letter; but, remember to include as many local details about your school district as possible, such as the number of students receiving Medicaid services and how important school-based Medicaid is to addressing the special needs of students educated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

NSBA Sends Letter Urging House to Pass CTE Reauthorization

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2353, the "Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act" by a voice vote.  NSBA sent a letter before the vote advocating for passage of this CTE reauthorization because it supports a strong academic component and credentialing programs to help our nation's school districts advance programs of study that meet the needs of both students and employers, and provides practical training through apprenticeships and other opportunities.  Additional details are available here.  Also, research findings from NSBA's Center for Public Education report on Career and Technical Education: Building New Pathways into the Labor Market are posted online. NSBA will remain engaged in advocacy efforts as the Senate begins its work to reauthorize the program.

ACT NOW: ED Notice for Review of Regulations and Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education recently published a notice in the Federal Register requesting stakeholders to identify for review regulations and guidance that are "unduly costly" and "unnecessarily burdensome."  Comments to the Department are due by Monday, August 21, 2017.  We are seeking your assistance in helping identify any regulations or guidance which you would like the Department to review.  Please respond to federaladvocacy@nsba.org and send by Friday, July 7, 2017, with the following information: 

  1. The name of Regulation or Guidance to be reviewed
  2. Whether the item(s) should be amended or rescinded
  3. What specific changes you believe would be helpful and why?  (Examples of how the federal rule or guidance is impacting schools are especially useful).

House Committee to Hold Hearing on Student Privacy

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce's Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing entitled "Exploring Opportunities to Strengthen Education Research While Protecting Student Privacy."  This hearing will likely focus on reauthorizing the Education Sciences Reform Act (ESRA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). These bills stipulate how student data is collected and shared across states and school districts.  NSBA staff will monitor this hearing and will provide additional details. View a Live Webcast of the Hearing.

NSBAC Launches New Campaign: Public Schools 1st Campaign

The National School Boards Action Center (NSBAC) has launched its new campaign, Public Schools 1st Campaign: #MakeYourImpact. Public Schools 1st has been created to mobilize the "Friends of Public Education" network and school board members to advocate for the importance of supporting public schools during a series of social media and digital initiatives. In addition, the Campaign will provide resources and CPE research to prepare advocates to engage in grassroots advocacy activities all year round, including participating in "Calls to Action" urging lawmakers on Capitol Hill to support public schools and the choice options they currently offer parents and students.

To kick off the Campaign, NSBAC held its first IMPACT Day on Thursday, June 22 @ 10AM EST. Public education advocates made their impact by sharing something positive about their local public schools using #PublicSchools1st on Twitter and Facebook at the same date and time.


MABE Presentation – "From NCLB to ESSA … An Introduction to the Every Student Succeeds Act

The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, represents a comprehensive revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which since 2002 has been known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). MABE and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) agree that ESSA provides a historic opportunity for school boards across the country to help shape how this law will impact their schools, teachers and students. Unlike NCLB, ESSA reduces the specificity of federal requirements while increasing the ability of States and school systems to define how school boards individual schools are held accountable for student achievement. With the passage of this law, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and States are now embarking on the work to implement its provisions.

For more information, go to MABE's Priority Issues page on The Every Student Succeeds Act and MABE's Committee on ESSA.