A New Jersey delegation of 40 traveled last month to Washington, D.C. for the National School Boards Association’s 2019 Advocacy Institute.
Attendees included local board members, along with NJSBA’s officers and Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, executive director. They spoke with members of Congress and the U.S. Senate; attended meetings on Capitol Hill; and discussed federal issues that impact public education. The Advocacy Institute focused on federal priorities for the 116th Congress.
“Advocating for state and federal policies that support public education and public school students is part of every school board member’s responsibility,” said Feinsod. “This year’s Advocacy Institute provided the opportunity to interface with new and current members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation and to address the funding of IDEA and other concerns affecting our state’s local school districts.”
The three-day conference from Jan. 27 through Jan. 29 focused on advocating for more funding of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; advancing school infrastructure; school safety priorities; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the 2020 Census.
School board members met New Jersey congressional representatives and staff from seven of the 12 congressional districts and were able to have informal conversations with them. They also met with staffers for Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker.
Board members will have a chance to follow up with congressional leaders during the summer when the NJSBA will schedule appointments locally in New Jersey to discuss federal issues with them at that time.
Keynote speakers for the conference included U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Senator Lamont Alexander, who served as education secretary under President George H.W. Bush. Other speakers included Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author, and Christopher Graves, president and founder, Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science.
Approximately 40 New Jersey school board members attended the National School Boards Association’s Advocacy Institute program.