February 6, 2016

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

ESEA Reauthorization
The House and the Senate have passed their respective versions of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The House passed H. R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” on July 8, 2015 by a vote of 218 to 213. Then, on July 16, 2015, the Senate passed S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act, by a vote of 81 to 17. Both bills include provisions for local governance that MABE and NSBA support.

The House and the Senate have passed their respective versions of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The House passed H. R. 5, the “Student Success Act,” on July 8, 2015 by a vote of 218 to 213. Then, on July 16, 2015, the Senate passed S. 1177, the “Every Child Achieves Act,” by a vote of 81 to 17. Both bills include provisions for local governance that MABE and NSBA support. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) appears poised for further legislative action in the very near future.  

The House is expected to consider the legislation in early December.   NSBA sent a letter of support on December 2 to all U.S. Representatives, a call to action to FRN members and issued the NSBA press release. NSBA has prepared a very helpful  “ESSA Transition Timetable and Frequently Asked Questions: A Local School Board Primer" to identify and summarize key provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, the House-Senate Conference Committee for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

On December 1, 2015 NSBA wrote to Paul D. Ryan, Speaker of the U.S House of Representatives and Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Minority Leader.

"The National School Boards Association (NSBA), representing more than 90,000 local school board members across the nation, working with and through our state associations, supports passage of the “Every Student Succeeds Act,” and applauds the work of the Conference Committee for its bipartisan effort to modernize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Chairman John Kline and Senior Democratic Member Bobby Scott have led the process in the House to develop legislation that will positively affect the educational outcomes of our nation’s 50 million public school students, the performance of our more than 13,000 public school districts, and the success of both our communities and our nation.  We urge your support for the passage of the “Every Student Succeeds Act.” 

Much has occurred in recent weeks as the House and Senate have made historic strides toward final passage of the long-awaited and overdue reauthorization and updating of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The NCLB law, regulations, and related guidance have long been outdated. This led to the law being replaced with comprehensive waivers approved by the U.S. Department of Education. These waivers have provided much needed flexibility, but at the same time have allowed the federal government to leverage requirements on a state by state basis.  

On September 29, 2015 the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and nine other national education groups sent a joint letter urging lawmakers to complete work to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), known as the “No Child Left Behind Act” and get a conferenced bill to the President's desk by the end of this year. NSBA continues to work closely with Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to advocate for a final education bill that underscores the importance of local governance and community ownership, so that our nation’s 90,000 school board members will be better positioned to offer all students a world-class public education. 

And on November 19, 2015 the conference committee reached agreement. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) praised lawmakers for reaching a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee agreement to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

"Today’s completion of the House and Senate Conference Report is good news for our nation’s 90,000 local school board members, and an historic opportunity to reaffirm the importance of local governance and community ownership in public education, as our school districts strive for continuous gains in student achievement,” stated Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director of the National School Boards Association. “NSBA applauds lawmakers for restoring regular order in the legislative process and working with our school boards and education stakeholders to achieve this important step towards the passage of a final bill that will modernize ESEA and facilitate greater innovation in education for school districts and states,” said Gentzel.

Federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization Update

Senate Agriculture Committee Marks Up Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) September 2015

With the current bill set to expire on September 30th, a markup of a modernized child nutrition reauthorization (CNR) is scheduled for Thursday, September 17 in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The CNR authorizes six food programs, including the school lunch and breakfast programs, which serve 30 million children. If Congress does not meet the September deadline, authorization of school meals will continue in its current form, however legislation is needed to make any changes or improvements. Both the Senate Agriculture Committee and the House Education & the Workforce Committee have conducted hearings on the CNR, including one featuring Indiana school board member and NSBA Director John Payne.  

In addition, NSBA has been on Capitol Hill for months lobbying for resources and flexibility for local school districts in order to provide nutritious and appetizing meals for children without unintended financial and operational consequences for school districts. The time of the September 17 hearing has not been announced, so check the Committee website for updates and to watch a live webcast of the markup.

Support for Keep our PACT Act

On September 25, 2015 the National School Boards Association (NSBA) joined with leading national education organizations in supporting the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act. The bill, introduced by Congressman Chris Van Hollen from Maryland, seeks to fully fund on a mandatory basis, Title I and Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) state grants which support equal access to quality education and programs for students with special needs. MABE supports this legislation and has consistently supported similar bills to secure the