April 25, 2018

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

Maryland Receives Federal Approval of State ESSA Plan

BALTIMORE (January 17, 2018) –The U.S. Department of Education has approved Maryland’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal law requiring state action on school improvement.

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of Maryland’s consolidated state plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“Maryland’s plan met the requirements of the law, and so I am happy to approve it,” said Secretary DeVos. “This plan should not be seen as a ceiling, but as a foundation upon which Maryland can improve education for its students.”

Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students.

The following are some of the unique elements from Maryland’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

Awards credit for elementary school students completing a well-rounded curriculum as measured by the percentage of students passing social studies, fine arts, physical education and health.

Supports low-performing schools through innovative strategies based on collaboration between local school districts and the state, including providing access to leadership coaches for school leaders at low-performing schools in order to give guidance on the implementation of school improvement strategies.

“Maryland’s efforts, built on strong stakeholder input, are based on the belief that each child is important and deserves the highest quality education program,” said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon. “We appreciate the support of the U.S. Department of Education, and we will continue our school improvement work with a focus on preparing every student for college and career.”


Legislative Highlights – 2017

MABE joined state associations of boards of education from across the nation in sending a letter to our U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen urging them to champion school-based Medicaid services for our students and highlighting the risks to these programs and services under the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA).

The BCRA includes provisions that could limit federal resources to states for school-based Medicaid services and reimbursement. Maryland joined other states in emphasizing that our school districts provide critical health services to students, including those with disabilities.  Annually, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reimburse school districts approximately $4 billion for services including speech-language pathology, vision, physical therapy, mental and behavioral health, and related services.

Before the Senate adjourned for its August state work period, healthcare reform hearings were announced for this September by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee.  As Congress is likely to continue efforts for healthcare reform legislation, MABE and the National School Boards Association (NSBA) will remain involved to urge protection of healthcare services for our most vulnerable students.

MABE Letter (June 23, 2017)

Senator Cardin’s Response (July 10, 2017)


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.