Michigan School Board Members Get Engaged at NSBA Advocacy Institute

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Feb. 11, 2015

The National School Board Association’s Advocacy Institute was held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 1 – 3. Michigan, with over 60 members, was once again one of the largest delegations in attendance. Only New York and Texas had more members. In all, over 700 school board members from across the country descended on our nation’s capitol to stand up for public education.

Our members heard from featured speakers James Carville and Mary Matalin who had some predications of what we’ll see this year in Congress, as well as a speech from Gwen Ifill about the role of the press and the realities of Congress. NSBA staff also presented on their advocacy efforts and gave an enthusiastic call to action. Over lunch on Monday, we heard from Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) and John Kline (R-Minnesota) about upcoming education issues in Congress and the possible reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Finally Dr. John King Jr. from the U. S. Department of Education presented and took questions from the audience.

MASB’s annual Senate Breakfast was well attended as usual. Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke to the delegation about ESEA and child nutrition. Then we were joined by freshman Sen. Gary Peters. He addressed the delegation for about a half-hour in his first breakfast with us. He also discussed ESEA and touched on some energy and environmental issues.

Thirteen of Michigan’s 14 Congressional offices were visited by groups of our delegates. Topics addressed in those meetings included reauthorization of ESEA, special education rules and funding, and issues specific to our schools in Michigan. Members also gave each Congressperson a copy of MASB's new magazine, LeaderBoard, for further insight into the issues Michigan school board members face and the resources currently available to them.

NSBA and MASB Government Relations staff will continue to repre­sent your needs to our policymakers in D.C., but don’t forget your voice also needs to be heard. Contact information for all of the Michigan members of Congress is available in the Advocacy & Legislation section of the MASB website, and we encourage you to make a difference by picking up the phone or emailing a message to your member of Congress.

Advocate for Michigan Public Schools at the State Level

Couldn't make it to Washington? Your chance to engage face-to-face with your state legislators is coming up! Join us at the MASA/MASB Legislative Conference on March 3. Held at the Lansing Center, just blocks from the State Capitol, members will hear from some of our elected leaders, as well as breakout sessions on current legislative topics.

The formal conference will wrap up at 12:15 p.m. and you'll be able to head to the Capitol to meet with your Senators and Representatives. Please schedule a meeting with your elected official ahead of time and try to visit in groups. We look forward to seeing you in March—register here today!

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