NSBA Advocacy Institute Puts Public Education on the Hill

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Feb. 1, 2017

Michigan was once again well represented and, along with Texas, had the largest delegation with more than 70 members, at the National School Board Association’s Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. In all, more than 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 speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin, an author and “student of history.” She looked back on Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and, using their histories, created some advice for the current president.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-7th District) addressed the full conference and spoke about the need for increased access for career and technical education. He intends to work to modernize the federal laws around CTE.

The conference wrapped up with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) speaking to the attendees. He is chair of the Senate HELP Committee that was considering the appointment of Betsy DeVos. (The committee voted the next morning on party-line votes to support her nomination and sent it to the Senate floor.)

Michigan's full delegation attended MASB’s annual Senate Breakfast in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Sen. Debbie Stabenow spoke to the delegation about some of the issues that may be coming up and the need for everyone to stay involved. Then we were joined by Sen. Gary Peters who took questions on a variety of issues and echoed Sen. Stabenow's comments about the need to be involved and active. He went on to note taking action not just at the federal level, but at the state level as many of these issues trickle down to the state legislatures.

All 14 of Michigan’s Congressional offices were visited by our delegates. Topics addressed in those meetings included the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act, school choice and issues specific to our schools in Michigan. Members also gave each Congressperson a copy of MASB's latest edition of LeaderBoard, for further insight into some of the issues facing Michigan school board members. Check out MASB's Facebook page for photos from the events.

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 on the MASB E-Vocate site under "Find Your Elected Official" and we encourage you to make a difference by picking up the phone or emailing a message to your member of Congress.

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