MaryAnn Weaver of the Blanco ISD school board joined more than 800 school board and state school boards association leaders to ask Congress to support public schoolchildren this year. School board advocates were in Washington, D.C., to take part in the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) 37th annual Federal Relations Network Conference, held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, 2010.
MaryAnn, a participant in the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network (FRN), a national grassroots legislative network, met with her members of Congress to urge them to make K-12 education a top priority this session.
School board leaders urged Congress to address federal shortfalls for key education programs that have been underfunded, in particular Title I grants and special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. They encouraged Congress to enact needed changes to the No Child Left Behind Act, discussing their major concerns of the law’s accountability framework that does not accurately or fairly assess performance.
School boards’ other federal priorities were: expanding early childhood education programs, continuing the E-Rate program for essential school technology funding, preventing expansion of federal school voucher programs, and ensuring school districts continue to receive Medicaid reimbursement for related healthcare expenses for students. With most states experiencing severe budget shortfalls, school districts are facing another year of economic hardship and need Congress’s support to make sure public education doesn’t “fall off the cliff” when the temporary, two-year increases known as the stimulus funds end.
“Local school board members are the best advocates in telling their own stories to Congress,” said NSBA Executive Director Anne L. Bryant. “They are the leaders on the front lines every day and understand firsthand what our public schoolchildren need to succeed.”
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (www.nsba.org <http://www.nsba.org/> ) is a not-for-profit organization representing State Associations of school boards and their member districts across the United States. Its mission is to work with and through all its State Association members to foster excellence and equity in public education through school board leadership. NSBA achieves that mission by representing the school board perspective in working with federal government agencies and national organizations that impact education, and provides vital information and services to state associations of school boards throughout the nation.