Last week, the National School Boards Association held its annual “Advocacy Institute.” Due to the public health emergency, this year’s conference was held virtually. The first two days of the conference included a series of information sessions and guest speakers that touched on some of the most pressing education issues being addressed at the federal level.

The final day was reserved primarily for state associations to meet with members of their respective congressional delegations. NJSBA governmental relations staff coordinated a series of virtual Capitol Hill visits that took place throughout the day.

The day began with welcoming remarks from NJSBA President Irene LeFebvre and NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod.

In the morning, NJSBA met with a member of U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s staff and later with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. Throughout the afternoon, the NJSBA heard from several members from the House of Representatives, including:

  • Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12);
  • Congressman Donald Norcross (D-1);
  • Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-11); and
  • Congressman Andy Kim (D-3).

Key staffers from the offices of Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-2) and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., (D-9) also participated.

The meetings provided an opportunity for the NJSBA and participating board members to advocate concerning various issues of national and state significance, including:

  • Full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA);
  • Investing in the educator pipeline to address the teacher shortage;
  • Building a stronger school infrastructure and modernizing facilities;
  • Continuing to bridge the “Homework Gap” and digital divide; and
  • Keeping public monies in public schools and avoiding the diversion of federal funds to private schools.

More information on the Advocacy Institute, including talking points on the items listed above and presentation slides from various conference sessions, can be found on the NSBA website. This information can be used by school board members wishing to join in the NJSBA and NSBA’s collective advocacy efforts in any communications they may have with their representatives in Congress.

Photos of participants in the event appear in the slideshow below.

U.S. Senator Robert MenendezU.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, 12th Congressional District of New JerseyU.S. Representative Donald Norcross, 1st Congressional District of New JerseyU.S. Representative Mikie Sherrill, 11th Congressional District of New JerseyNJSBA Director of Governmental Relations Jonathan Pushman