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.

2019 Advocacy Institute – The 2019 Advocacy Institute was held from January 27-29, 2019 at the Washington Hilton Hotel.  Check out the Agenda and contact MABE for information on how to participate in FRN and future Advocacy Institutes.

Priority Issue – Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and IDEA Position Statement for Members of Congress

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

Federal News & Highlights

NSBA’s Federal Advocacy & Public Policy Updates
(Updated May 20, 2019)  

Congressional Update

House Energy and Commerce Committee Discusses E-Rate Program

Last Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held an oversight hearing featuring testimony and discussion with the five commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission. The hearing focused on a range of topics but included important exchanges about the Republican Commissioners’ plan to open a rule making that proposes to cap the Universal Service Fund and merge the program level caps for the E-rate and Rural Healthcare broadband connectivity programs. NSBA, and other Education and Libraries Networks Coalition members, are concerned that the new and combined caps could diminish the E-rate’s effectiveness. During the hearing, Representative Dave Loebsack (D-IA) and Representative Marc Veasey (D-TX) noted their concern about the proposal to FCC Chairman Agit Pai and Commissioner Mike O’Reilly. NSBA plans to work closely with EdLiNC to oppose this change to the E-rate program, including filing formal comments responding to the notice of proposed rulemaking, when it is published in the Federal Register.

Funding Increase for School Safety Grants Proposed

Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies reported its Fiscal Year 2020 funding bill that would increase resources for school safety. The bill would provide $125 million for competitive grants authorized by the STOP School Violence Act, which represents a $25 million increase above the FY2019 funding allocation.

In a letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of this funding, NSBA, the Security Industry Association and other organizations stated that, “This increased funding will allow even more states, localities, and tribes to provide evidence-based violence prevention programming to students and teachers. We also urge continuance of the FY19 funding allotments and language, furthering the strong focus on evidence-based school violence prevention programs.”

The Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) that provides grants to states, units of local government, and Indian tribes to address several areas including:

  • Training school personnel and educating students on preventing student violence against others and themselves;
  • Developing and operating anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and internet websites;
  • Developing and operating school threat assessment and intervention teams that may include coordination with law enforcement agencies and school personnel; and,
  • Developing specialized training for school officials in responding to mental health crises.

President Trump Signals Openness to Budget Deal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) met with President Trump last week to urge him to seek a bipartisan budget agreement. Senator McConnell has also spoken with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) about negotiating an increase to the caps. Meanwhile, the House continues to move ahead with approving its proposals for fiscal year 2020 funding increases, while there is uncertainty in the Senate about when the Appropriations Committee will be able to begin approving funding bills, given the absence of consensus about budgetary caps among the House, Senate, and the White House.

House Education and Labor Committee Approves Two Bills This Week

The House Education and Labor Committee approved two bills (26-20) last week just prior to the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.  The two bills are the: Strength in Diversity Act of 2019, H.R. 2639 (116), which would extend incentives to voluntary community efforts to integrate schools; and the Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act, H.R. 2574 (116), which would restore a private right of action to file disparate impact claims under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The measure would also create a Title VI monitor at the Education Department responsible for investigating complaints of racial discrimination.  The fact sheets on Strength in Diversity Act of 2019 and Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act are here and here. 

Notable K12 Bills

  • 118 Innovators to Entrepreneurs Act of 2019 Sponsor: Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]
  • 1466 A bill to establish a grant program within the Department of Labor to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. Sponsor: Sen. Rosen, Jacky [D-NV]
  • 1442 A bill to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen school security. Sponsor: Sen. Cruz, Ted [R-TX]
  • R.2818 To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to improve the efficiency of summer meals. Sponsor: Rep. Young, Don [R-AK-At Large]
  • R.2724 To clarify the requirements of authorized representatives under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Luetkemeyer, Blaine [R-MO-3]
  • R.2721 To establish a grant program within the Department of Labor to support the creation, implementation, and expansion of registered apprenticeship programs in cybersecurity. Sponsor: Rep. Lee, Susie [D-NV-3]
  • R.2706 To amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to clarify that charitable organization officials may receive food donations from schools under the food donation program, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Rep. Castro, Joaquin [D-TX-20]



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.