August 28, 2015

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.

Key Information for School Board Members for Meetings with Members of Congress During the August Congressional Recess
The Congressional August recess presents a unique opportunity for school board members across the country to meet locally and share with their members of Congress public education issues of great importance to their communities. This year, House members will recess from July 31 until September 7, while Senators won’t begin their recess until August 10 continuing through September 7. During these periods when your federal lawmakers are home we hope that you will engage them in conversation from the local school board member’s perspective. NSBA has provided key information for your meetings with members of Congress during the 2015 August congressional recess on the following three issues:

  • Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA);
  • Fiscal Year 2016 Federal Funding for Public Education and Sequestration; and
  • Reauthorization of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (which authorizes the school lunch program).
    Link to NSBA resources 

Conference Committee Update 
House, Senate Education Leaders Discuss Efforts to Replace No Child Left Behind 
Agree to recommend House Chairman John Kline to chair conference committee to reconcile House- and Senate-passed bills

On July 30, 2015 House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN), Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senate Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), and House Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) met to discuss proceeding with a conference committee to resolve differences in the House- and Senate-passed bills to replace No Child Left Behind. 

Kline said: “There is a lot of work to do in the coming months, and I am confident we will be able to craft a bicameral education bill that reduces the federal role, restores local control, and empowers parents and education leaders. Those are the kind of education reforms the American people expect and we must deliver. I look forward to continuing this important effort and putting in place new policies that will help every child in every school receive an excellent education.”

Alexander said: “Fifty million children and 3.5 million teachers deserve to get a result, and we should be able to achieve that this fall. While there are important differences, the consensus supporting the framework for the House and Senate bills is the same: Continue the law’s important measurements of academic progress of students but restore to states, school districts, classroom teachers and parents the responsibility for deciding what to do about improving student achievement.”

Murray said: “I am proud of the bipartisan work we did in the Senate to reach this point, and I am hopeful that we can build on this bipartisan foundation to take the final steps to get this bill to the president’s desk. As we head toward conference, I look forward to continuing to improve the final bill to make sure all students have access to a good education, regardless of where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make.”

Scott said: “The right to educational opportunity knows no state boundaries, and federal law must protect this right for all students regardless of race, income, disability, or language status. I am confident that working together, we will produce a comprehensive reauthorization that fulfills the ESEA's original civil rights legacy. I stand committed to producing a bipartisan bill that eliminates resource inequities and effectively addresses achievement gaps.”

Background

In this July 6, 2015 letter to the Senate HELP Committee, NSBA outlines its priorities that will allow school boards throughout the country to have the flexibility they need to successfully address the unique needs of their students and communities. NSBA supports the language in H.R.5 to restore local school board governance in education, but expresses concerns in other areas in this July 2, 2015 letter to the House Education and Workforce Committee.

 

Protect Title I Funding

MABE wrote to Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin on July 2, 2015 to voice concerns about the U.S. Senate’s potential action to change the Title I funding formula in a manner which cut funding for Maryland, and to urge support for the ongoing effort to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). (Link to MABE letter)

The Washington Post reported on July 10 on the pending amendment to title I funding formula, and Senator Barbara Mikulski's strong opposition.

"A forthcoming amendment from Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) would change the formula used to allocate Title I funds, a move that would create big winners and losers among the states.

Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia would gain Title I dollars, which are meant to educate poor children. But that leaves 14 states that would see cuts, including big losers New York (whose districts would lose $310 million), Illinois ($188 million) and Pennsylvania ($120 million).

“Every county in my state will lose money,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), whose state stands to lose about $40 million per year, a 20 percent cut. Mikulski, speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, said she plans to vote in favor of rewriting the No Child Left Behind law — unless it includes the Burr amendment."

Link to Washington Post Article (July 10, 2015)