Federal Advocacy Center


MABE’s Federal Advocacy Programs & 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 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.

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

NSBA Federal Legislative Priorities

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), working with and through our state associations to represent more than 90,000 local school board members, advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board governance. As a matter of priority, NSBA’s comprehensive advocacy and policy priorities reinforce a recent statement adopted by the association.

We affirm in our actions that each student can, will, and shall learn. Educational equity is the intentional allocation of resources, instruction, and opportunities according to need. We recognize that based on factors including but not limited to disability, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, students are deprived of equitable educational opportunities. This requires that discriminatory practices, prejudices, and beliefs be identified and eradicated. — NSBA Board of Directors, Adoption of the Definition of Equity, December 2017

To this end, NSBA believes the following legislative issues must be addressed in order for local districts to maximize educational opportunities that are available for every student to reach their greatest learning potential. In addition to the specific legislative issues outlined below, NSBA believes Congress must continue its oversight of the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to ensure state and local flexibility in K-12 education. As states and districts work to implement the law, Congress must recognize the critical role of local school boards to lead the local district planning process and set policies and programs to best meet student learning needs.

Legislative Priorities for the 116th Congress

For over seven decades NSBA has advocated for equity and excellence in education. NSBA will continue to work with the 116th Congress on our legislative priorities to ensure that public schools and the 50 million students that attend them get the support they deserve. Please read more to learn about NSBA’s legislative priorities for the 116th Congress.

2020 Advocacy Institute

Join school board members from across the country on Capitol Hill to influence the new legislative agenda and shape the decisions made inside the Beltway that directly impact our students.

Sunday, February 2, 2020 to Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Marriott Marquis Washington, DC

Conference Agenda

Federal News & Highlights

NSBA’s Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Updates
(Updated February 21, 2020)

Congressional Update

Secretary DeVos to Testify about FY21 Education Budget Request

Secretary DeVos is scheduled to testify next week, before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. The Secretary will be the only witness and her testimony will focus on the president’s fiscal year 2021 budget request, which asked Congress to cut the Department of Education’s budget by 8.5% and to consolidate Title I and many other Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs into a single block grant. NSBA strongly opposes the president’s proposed budget cuts and consolidation plan and we will work with members of the House and Senate to oppose it. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 27 (10:00 AM EST) and will be livestreamed here.

House Education Committee to Host Apprenticeship Hearing

The House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee has scheduled a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the National Apprenticeship Act: Strengthening and Growing Apprenticeships for the 21st Century.” The hearing is a precursor to expected bipartisan committee work to update the NAA, including emphasizing high need areas, such as early childhood educators. We expect Chairman Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Foxx (R-NC) to release draft apprenticeship legislation for public comment later this year.  The hearing will be held on Thursday, February 27 (10:15 AM EST).  Witnesses have not yet been announced.  The hearing will be livestreamed here.

Administration Update

Department of Education Announces Special Education Event

The Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is hosting a discussion about student transition experiences and success stories titled “VR100 – Vocational Rehabilitation” on Tuesday, February 25 (1-2:30pm ET).  Acting Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and Commissioner of RSA, Mark Schultz will moderate a panel about the topic, including an individual with disabilities, a teacher, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, and an employer.  Watch the live broadcast here.

White House Hosts Governors for “Business Sessions”

President Trump hosted the nation’s governors on February 11 for a White House business session. Following remarks by the president, Secretary DeVos co-led, with other Cabinet officials, two breakouts focused on strengthening America’s workforce by expanding STEM education, apprenticeships, and CTE and re-skilling America’s workers for the growing industries of the future. The event was held in conjunction with the final day of the National Governors Association winter meeting.

FCC Seeks Public Comment about Net Neutrality

This week, the FCC invited public comment on aspects of the agency’s Net Neutrality decision, which were overturned by a recent court decision. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals remanded key elements of the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality. In particular, the court decision said the agency must consider how the FCC’s decision affects public safety, Lifeline service, and broadband infrastructure. The rulemaking provides an opportunity for school districts to urge the FCC to provide protections to ensure that schools and students are not harmed by carrier decisions to block websites, “throttle” services, and preference their own or their partners’ online content. Public comments must be submitted on or before March 30, 2020.

NSBA Update

Reminder: Next Week is Public Schools Week and Digital Learning Day: We want to remind everyone that Public Schools Week begins on Monday and runs from February 24 to 28, 2020 and Digital Learning Day is also during that week on Thursday, February 27, 2020. NSBA is doing advocacy and social media around both campaign events. We encourage states and local school board members to visit schools, issues proclamations, and participate in other ways around these two events to focus on local schools. You can learn more about Public Schools Week at https://learningfirst.org/publicschoolsweek and Digital Learning Day by visiting https://digitallearningday.org/.



The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in Maryland

State Resources – Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) 

State Board Approves Accountability Report Cards 

On Dec. 4, 2018, the Maryland State Board of Education released the approved format, contents, and online accessibility to the new Maryland Report Card accountability reporting system under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

State Board Approved ESSA Accountability Plan

U.S. Dept. of Education Resources – Maryland’s State Plan Review and Approval 

MABE Presentation: From NCLB to ESSA… An Introduction to the Every Child 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 and 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, please see the Every  Student Succeeds Act section in our Priority Issues for the 2018 legislative session.