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 December 13, 2019)

Congressional Update

House and Senate Leaders Announce Funding Deal “In Principle”

With only a handful of days remaining before temporary funding for the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies expires, House and Senate appropriations committee leaders have announced an agreement “in principle” on a funding deal for all twelve appropriations bills, and an intent to pass them prior to the expiration of the current continuing resolution next Friday. Following a lengthy meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, the leaders announced that they had reached agreement on outstanding issues, and a vote may come in the House as early as Tuesday. No additional details about the funding deal, including levels of funding for the Department of Education or key education funding programs, are yet available, and may not be posted for another few days. It is also unclear how the most difficult issue impeding negotiations – funding for President Trump’s border barrier – was resolved, and as with previous funding fights, it’s not truly over until the President has signed the bill. NSBA is closely monitoring the situation and will report any substantial developments as they are learned.

Senate HELP Committee Holds Vote on Child Abuse, Childcare Background Check Bills

On Thursday, December 12, the Senate HELP Committee approved, by voice vote, several bills, including legislation (S.2971) designed to update the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). Among other provisions, CAPTA authorizes federal funding and technical assistance to States focused on child abuse prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities and provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations, for demonstration programs and projects. The committee also approved legislation (S.2683) that proposes to establish an Interagency Task Force for Child Safety “to identify, evaluate, and recommend best practices and technical assistance to assist Federal and State agencies” in implementing the background check requirements of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. The Senate’s passage sets up the possibility of negotiations with the House, and possible final passage for the president’s signature, in 2020.

Congress Passes Simplification of Financial Aid Application Process

The House (319-96) and Senate (voice vote) passed H.R.2486 that – in addition to providing funding to historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions – will make filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) easier for applicants by reducing and simplifying the numbers of questions. The FAFSA simplification process, a longtime priority for retiring Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), will also allow sharing of IRS taxpayer information with the Department of Education for purposes of the application. The President is expected to sign the bill.

Administration Update

Department of Education Proposes Expanded Access to TEACH Grants

The Department of Education proposed a new rule, open for public comment, “that would expand access to Teacher Education Assistance for College Higher Education (TEACH) Grants and ensure religious liberty is protected for faith-based higher education institutions and their students.”  The proposed regulation is designed to address the program’s burdensome compliance requirements for TEACH grant recipients. Public comments are due by January 10, 2020.

Notable K-12 Bills 

With only 14 days remaining before stopgap funding for the Department of Education and other federal agencies expires, Congress appears to be no closer to resolving a standoff over additional funding requested by the White House for the southern border wall, despite some progress on agreeing to overall spending levels. Senate and House leaders are continuing to discuss an agreement for completing the annual federal spending process, which should have concluded by the end of September. If Congress does not reach an agreement before December 20, a third stopgap spending bill will be needed to continue government operations. With the holidays on the horizon, NSBA anticipates that another temporary funding bill would most likely have to stay in place until February or March of 2020. We are continuing to urge Congress to complete the Department of Education’s budget, including adopting spending levels – especially for ESSA Title I and IDEA Part B – close to the levels passed by the House earlier this year which includes an increase in funding for public education.

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.