Articles tagged with Congress

More members of the House of Representatives join growing co-sponsor list for NSBA bill

Fourteen lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives have joined the 24 existing co-sponsors on the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act (H.R. 1386), since Feb. 2014. The bi-partisan bill recognizes the benefits of local school district governance and ensures that maximum local flexibility and decision-making are not eroded through U.S. Department of Education (ED) actions.

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) attributes this wave of legislative support to the dedicated work of the hundreds of school board members and state school boards association leaders who attended NSBA’s new Advocacy Institute, held Feb. 2-4, 2014 in Washington. In addition to building year-round advocates for public education and local school governance, the institute arranged Capitol Hill visits for attendees to speak with their members of Congress about protecting local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion.

Thirty-eight Congressional co-sponsors have now signed on to the bill. Introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-lll.) on March 21, 2013, this legislation had as original co-sponsors Reps. Schock, Rodney Davis (R-Iowa), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.).

H.R. 1386 would ensure that ED’s actions are consistent with the specific intent of federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. This would also establish several procedural steps that ED would need to take prior to initiating regulations, rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials. The legislation is also supported by the AASA, the School Superintendent Association.

“In recent years local school board members and educators have become increasingly concerned that the local governance of our nation’s school districts is being unnecessarily eroded through over reaching federal policies and requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “Public education decisions made at the federal level must support the needs and goals of local school districts and the communities they serve. The Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities to our nation’s more than 13,500 school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and input from the local level.”

School board members are encouraged to contact their House members to become co-sponsors. Increased focus is now being directed to urge senators to introduce a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. School board members also are encouraged to contact their senators and urge them to sponsor similar legislation.

Staff|March 11th, 2014|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , |

With budget passage, America’s school boards encourage Congress to prioritize education funding

Here is the statement from the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel praising the U.S. Senate for passing the budget plan known as the Bipartisan Budget Act, which seeks to restore many of the cuts to prek-12 education:

NSBA thanks the U.S. Senators who put partisan differences aside and approved the Bipartisan Budget Act today. This measure will help mitigate the impact of the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and restore critical programs to public schools across the nation. We are pleased that President Barack Obama has pledged to quickly sign the bill.

This budget is particularly critical for America’s public schools to continue to improve and educate a growing and diverse population of students. Our economy is dependent on our ability to prepare our next generation of students for college and career readiness in today’s complex global economy. That foundation begins at prek-12 levels.

As Congress now moves forward with the remaining work of the FY14 appropriations process, we urge the Appropriations Committees to write funding bills that prioritize federal education programs that are crucial to helping our most disadvantaged students, specifically Title I and grants for students with disabilities. These federal programs are essential to support long‐standing federal commitments and help offset the recent budget cuts, which have forced school districts to cut academic programs and have disproportionately hurt our neediest students and schools.

We especially thank Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray for their leadership in finding a solution that will help America’s public schools. We support their continued leadership to develop a long-term solution that will sustain federal investments in prek-12 education and put our students first.

Additionally, NSBA, along with other leading national education groups, sent a letter to members of Congress this evening to encourage that education priorities and federal commitments are addressed in the appropriations process.

Alexis Rice|December 18th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , , , |

NSBA praises new budget plan for prioritizing public education funding

Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), released the following statement on the bipartisan plan from Congressional leaders that would stop the automatic across-the-board cuts created by sequestration for two years:

“We are pleased to see leaders of Congress reach a budget compromise. This plan is an essential first step in the right direction for prek-12 education and public schools across America. NSBA is urging school board leaders to call upon Congress to approve this plan and stop the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, which already has reduced funding from K-12 programs and Head Start by $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2013.

“This plan would sustain important educational programs that help close achievement gaps, raise graduation rates, and foster innovative learning environments. NSBA also is calling for a permanent end to sequestration, which has been a disinvestment in our nation’s students and schools.

“We thank Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin for their bipartisan collaboration to restore federal investments in our public schools. This important budget deal is welcome news to many of our school districts and school boards, because it will help to prevent teacher and staff layoffs, continue important after-school programs, and restore essential purchases for classrooms. We value lawmakers’ initial actions to support the success of our nation’s students, and hope to see future plans go even further.”

NSBA is encouraging school board leaders to call both of their senators and their representative regarding the budget agreement and urge them to vote “yes”, in support of the measure that will stop sequestration for two years. School board members can contact their members of Congress through the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Alexis Rice|December 11th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards|Tags: , , , , , |

School boards encourage Congress to make education a priority following federal government shutdown

With the agreement to reopen the federal government and avert a debt default, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

While there is now an agreement to fund the government until Jan. 15, 2014 and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014, the shutdown demonstrated a lack of leadership in the U.S. Congress and reflects a much larger and long-term problem on how the budget process is currently funding K-12 education programs.

Long term budget solutions are needed as Congress continues to pass budgets built on continuing resolutions with education programs funded at the same levels as the year before or cut because of sequestration. This process does not adequately fund the high-priority education programs that will impact student learning, and public schools across the U.S. deserve better from our leaders in Washington.

Future funding bills need to help sustain and continue public schools’ progress to improve student learning, increase graduation rates, and prepare all students for college and careers. It’s time for Congress to support their local schools districts and make education investments on behalf of America’s schoolchildren.

Additionally, now that the shutdown is over, the U.S. Senate needs to take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S. 1094. School board members across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation following the U.S. House of Representatives passing its version of ESEA reauthorization earlier this year.

Alexis Rice|October 16th, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, School Boards|Tags: , , |

School boards call for adequate funding for public education, instead of government shutdown

With the federal government shutdown spurred by Congress’ lack of agreement on significant budget issues, Thomas J. Gentzel, the Executive Director of the National School Boards Association, released the following statement:

Much of the attention surrounding the federal government shutdown has revolved around the lack of agreement between parties on the Affordable Care Act. However, this shutdown reflects a much larger and long-term problem with Congress and the budget process for K-12 education programs.

For several years Congress has passed budgets built on continuing resolutions with education programs funded at the same levels as the year before or cut because of sequestration. This process does not adequately fund the high-priority education programs that will impact student learning, and public schools across the U.S. deserve better from our leaders in Washington.

The National School Boards Association urges Congress’ swift bipartisan action to pass a funding bill that will help sustain and continue public schools’ progress to improve student learning, increase graduation rates, and prepare all students for college and careers. As a key priority for our children, education investments should not be stalled because of partisanship.

Alexis Rice|October 1st, 2013|Categories: Budgeting, Federal Advocacy, Legislative advocacy|Tags: , , |

School boards urge U.S. Senate to rethink No Child Left Behind

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging the U.S. Senate to take action on its bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, S. 1094.

In a letter, NSBA asks the chairman and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to schedule the bill for a Senate floor vote within the next 30 days so that the bill could be considered in a joint conference committee. In addition, further delays could mean that the U.S. Department of Education would initiate another round of waiver requests early next year only for local school districts to subsequently have the new ESEA law take them in a different direction. Reauthorizing ESEA now would “avoid confusion and waste of resources locally to the extent legislative policy differs from waiver requirements,” the letter states.

“There has been no movement on the Senate bill since it was approved by the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee three months ago,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “As the new school year begins and districts continue to grapple with the unreasonable requirements of the No Child Left Behind law, school board members across the country are anxiously awaiting progress on this important legislation.”

NSBA had asked the members of the HELP Committee to make substantive changes in the measure during committee discussions. However, not enough changes were made to warrant NSBA endorsement at that time. NSBA hopes such concerns will be resolved during the Joint Conference Committee deliberations.

“Local school boards across the nation appreciate the fact that S. 1094 contained many of the positive provisions that are in the current No Child Left Behind law such as early childhood development, teacher and principal effectiveness through preparation and professional development, rigorous college and career-ready standards with valid and reliable aligned assessments,” the letter states. “However, school board members were disappointed that S. 1094 contained many requirements that would significantly increase the requirements for local data collection, reporting, and plan development and implementation.”

NSBA also signed on to a Sept. 12 letter put forth by numerous government and education organizations, including the National Governors Association and the National Council of State Legislatures, that also urges Senate leaders to bring the ESEA bill to a floor vote.

View NSBA’s ESEA advocacy resources.

Alexis Rice|September 12th, 2013|Categories: Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, No Child Left Behind|Tags: , , , , , , |

House approves NSBA-backed local flexibility measure in ESEA bill

The U.S. House of Representatives began debate on H.R. 5, the Student Success Act, the House’s version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The National School Boards Association (NSBA) was pleased that an amendment on local school district flexibility that includes key provisions of NSBA’s bill, the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, H.R. 1386, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 239-187 vote on July 18. The amendment was put forth by Reps. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), and additional provisions of NSBA’s bill were included in the bill the Committee on Education and the Workforce took to the floor.

H.R. 5, with local school district flexibility amendment, focuses on specifically ensuring that the U.S. Department of Education does not encroach on local school board governance.

On Wednesday, NSBA sent letters to all House members to urge them to support H.R. 5.

H.R. 5, “makes significant improvements to restore greater flexibility and governance to local educational agencies that will enable these agencies to better meet the unique needs and conditions of their local schools and students. It also re-affirms the appropriate roles and responsibilities between the Executive and Legislative Branches of government that are vital to the representative decision-making at the federal level that under girds public education as a democratic institution across all three levels of government,” the letter stated.

NSBA is opposed to Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) Title I portability amendment as it would require school districts to reallocate Title I funds on a per-pupil basis and set up a system of public school choice. The vote on that amendment is expected on July 19.

NSBA wants to thank school board members for contacting their members of Congress. On July 19, please call your representative at (202) 224-3121 (Capitol switchboard) and follow-up with a letter to vote NO on the Cantor Title I portability amendment and YES for final passage of the bill. The consideration of additional amendments continues through Friday.

Alexis Rice|July 18th, 2013|Categories: Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, No Child Left Behind, School Boards, School Vouchers|Tags: , , |

Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act introduced in U.S. Congress

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) praised today’s introduction of the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act in the U.S. House of Representatives that would protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Local school boards and local educators play a vital role in educating our nation’s schoolchildren which should not be eroded by unnecessary federal regulations,” said C. Ed Massey, NSBA President and member of Kentucky’s Boone County Board of Education. “The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act would ensure that local school boards have the ability to make decisions to create greater academic success for all students, efficiency, and responsiveness to the desires of local communities.”

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), would ensure that the U.S. Department of Education’s actions are consistent with the specific intent of federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. This would also establish several procedural steps that the Department of Education would need to take prior to initiating regulations, rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials. The legislation is also supported by the American Association of School Administrators.

“In recent years local school board members and educators have become increasingly concerned that the local governance of our nation’s school districts is being unnecessarily eroded through over reaching federal policies and requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director. “Public education decisions made at the federal level must support the needs and goals of local school districts and the communities they serve. The U.S. Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities to our nation’s more than 13,500 school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and input from the local level. “

Additionally, the legislation is intended to provide the House of Representatives and Senate committees that oversee education with better information regarding the local impact of U.S. Department of Education’s activities. The legislation is also designed to more broadly underscore the role of Congress as the federal policy-maker in education and through its representative function.

“As a former school board president, I believe that the combination of parents, educators, employers and the local community must work together to ensure all children develop the skills and acquire the educational tools they will need to become successful. I believe a big part of this is ensuring local school boards do not have their authority eroded by regulators in Washington,” said Schock. “Not all education regulations are misguided, but the ones that are need to be taken off the books. The focus has to be expanding the opportunity to learn; not tying the hands of local administrators with more red tape by federal bureaucrats. My legislation ensures this encroachment does not continue and restores the local authority school boards need.”

NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress to support passage of this legislation.

Alexis Rice|March 21st, 2013|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA urges action to prevent across-the-board federal cuts to education

Federal funding for education faces significant across-the-board cuts of an estimated $4.1 billion on January 2, 2013 unless U.S. Congress takes action. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is urging Congress to rescind the across-the-board cuts (sequestration) to education. Impact Aid would face cuts during this school year, and other education programs would face cuts beginning in July of 2013, affecting the 2013-2014 school districts’ budgets. See the U.S. Department of Education’s letter that details the timing. NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress, pass board resolutions, and send a letter to the editor about these drastic cuts to education.

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011 across-the-board cuts of 7.8 percent or more to education and other domestic programs will happen through a process called sequestration (the cancellation of budgetary resources), unless Congress intervenes.

Cuts would include:

  • A 7.8 percent cut to programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students would mean a cut of more than $1 billion, affecting nearly two million students.
  • Special education grants would be reduced by more than $900 million, impacting nearly 500,000 children with disabilities.
  • English Language Acquisition grants would be cut by approximately $60 million, affecting an estimated 377,000 students.
  • Sequestration’s budget cuts to these and other education programs would mean increased class sizes and less access to programs for children with special needs, as well as summer school, college counselors, early childhood education and after-school programming.

Most school districts have experienced significant budget cuts already in recent years, resulting in fewer course offerings, thousands of teacher and staff layoffs, four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, and reduced transportation services, for example. If further budget cuts from sequestration were to occur, several school districts would be forced to cut even more essential services over the long term.

As a school board member, utilize these talking points and background information and take a moment to customize this sample letter and send it to your senators and representative. Also consider customizing and adopting the sample board resolution, take the survey, and edit and send a letter to your local newspaper editor.

Please send NSBA a copy of your adopted resolutions on sequestration along with any published opinions that will help illustrate why Congress should reject sequestration and preserve funding for our schools.

Alexis Rice|September 12th, 2012|Categories: Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , |

NSBA President speaks on unfunded mandates

The National School Board Association’s (NSBA) President C. Ed Massey, a member of the Boone County, Ky., school board, spoke to his local Rotary Club about the need to relieve local school systems from inflexible federal laws that do not come with enough funding to successfully implement.

Massey explained the need for local school board members and other education advocates to become involved in lobbying their members of Congress in a presentation to members of the Florence, Ky. Rotary Club last week.

“A lot of congressional members just get snippets of information,” he said in a story published at the Cincinnati Enquirer’s community website. “Because they are not educators, they don’t understand the issues in depth.”

The Boone County school board and members of the Kentucky School Boards Association have recently worked with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on issues related to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.

 

Joetta Sack-Min|July 23rd, 2012|Categories: Board governance, Educational Finance, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Federal Advocacy, Federal Programs, Legislative advocacy, NSBA Opinions and Analysis|Tags: , , , , |
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