Delegate Assembly approves Advocacy Agenda

NSBA’s Delegate Assembly approved the association’s advocacy agenda at its business session Friday, April 8. The meeting was held right before the start of NSBA’s Annual Conference, which opens Saturday, April 9, in Boston. The Delegate Assembly is the policy-making body of NSBA.

The annual resolutions are in two core areas:


Every Student Succeeds Act Implementation (ESSA)

NSBA urges Congress to fully fund ESSA to support states and local schools in achieving the goals of the act. NSBA urges the Administration to implement ESSA in a transparent and collaborative manner that recognizes ESSA’s limitation of executive overreach and reaffirms local school board governance.

Opposition to Unlawful Expansion of Executive Authority

NSBA supports an appropriate federal role in education, but opposes the federal intrusion and expansion of executive authority by the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies in the absence of authorizing legislation as an invalid exercise of delegated authority.

The resolutions are as follows:


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

NSBA urges Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to:

(a)    limit responsibilities for child find and evaluation of students with disabilities to only those students who reside within the boundaries of the local school district;

(b)    prohibit any court, administrative body or other entity from requiring a school board or state within the United States to provide for a child’s education, residential cost or the cost of any other services provided outside the United States;

(c)    prohibit tuition reimbursement for students with disabilities unilaterally placed by their parents in private schools;

(d)    ensure the due process provisions are collaborative, effective and efficient;

(e)    always place the burden of proof in challenges to a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) upon the party bringing the challenge;

(f)     eliminate unnecessary and overburdening requirements for local school districts that do not directly impact educational outcomes for students;

(g)    establish a reasonable cap on plaintiff attorney’s fees; and,

(h)    allow school districts flexibility to apply Maintenance of Effort (MOE) under IDEA.

Opposition to Privatization

NSBA supports local community public schools and unconditionally opposes vouchers, tuition tax credits and similar schemes, including charter schools not approved by local school boards, effectively creating a second system of publicly funded education which: a) diverts public funding to private schools, including virtual schools, regardless of whether they are owned or operated by religious institutions, not for profit entities, or corporations; b) are unaccountable to the public through student and financial performance evaluation and reporting and open meeting requirements of traditional public schools; and c) often have the effect of re-segregating schools. Additionally, NSBA opposes efforts to expand school choice beyond public schools through programs such as Title I Portability.

Federal Impact Aid

NSBA urges Congress to authorize and fully fund Impact Aid to local districts to help support the education of all students whose parents or legal guardians reside and/or work on federal tax-exempt property or within local school districts that include federal tax-exempt property. Further, NSBA urges Congress to review the threshold for eligibility in those circumstances where the parent or legal guardian has been called to active duty outside the geographical boundaries of a school district that does not meet the 400 students or 3% enrollment requirement for Impact Aid. The review would explore the possibility of expanding eligibility requirements for Impact Aid without displacing funds from districts that are currently eligible.

School Safety and Crime Prevention

NSBA urges Congress and the Administration to provide greater and sustained resources for locally determined programs that are critical to school safety, such as school resource officers, school counseling, emergency preparedness and response training, interagency coordination, and a comprehensive resource guide on available federal assistance. NSBA also urges greater and sustained federal resources that expand access to mental health services and support comprehensive “wrap-around” services to schools that include a range of community resources to address safety and intervention. Further, NSBA reaffirms the purpose of the Gun-Free School Zones Act to ensure the safety of our nation’s schoolchildren.

Social and Emotional Needs

NSBA urges Congress and the Administration to prioritize the mental health, safety and social needs of students by providing increased funding and additional resources to support local school districts’ efforts to address through policies, preventive programs, and partnerships certain critical problems including, but not limited to, profiling of students based on racial, linguistic and/or socio-economic status, disproportionate discipline of minority students, gang violence, school shootings, bullying, cyber-bullying, suicide, attempted suicide, drug and alcohol use, sexual harassment and sexual assault, gender identity and sexual orientation profiling.

Educational Opportunity

NSBA urges Congress to amend the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to authorize the cancellation of removal, resolve immigration status, and work toward United States citizenship of undocumented immigrant students who are long-term United States residents.

Migrant Education Program

NSBA urges Congress to amend the Migrant Education Program (MEP) to make funding available to school districts to help them fulfill their legal obligation to educate children of migrant workers regardless of their immigration status or the availability of employment documentation. In order to give migrant children the opportunity to reach their full potential, NSBA also urges Congress to fully fund MEP.

Affordable Care Act Penalties

NSBA shall advocate for changes in the Affordable Care Act to modify conditions under which penalties may be imposed on employers for health insurance coverage that exceed the price benchmark established by the law.

Childhood Nutrition

NSBA urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grant flexibility and relief for school districts to successfully administer school meal programs by 1) increasing reimbursement levels and other federal funds to cover the cost of compliance and/or 2) authorizing local school districts to make implementation feasible within available federal resources. In addition, NSBA urges the Department of Agriculture and other federal and state agencies responsible for food safety to improve and coordinate inspection, notification, and other protocols to ensure the nutritional value and safety of foods served in school lunch, breakfast, and snack programs.

Breakfast for ALL Eligible Students

NSBA urges Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal funds and reimbursement increases in order to cover the full cost of compliance and implementation of providing breakfast to all eligible children in school districts that choose to implement it.

Standards and Testing

NSBA urges Congress and the Administration to take the following legislative and executive branch action with regard to standards and testing:

(a)    support state and local efforts to provide students with an education that is appropriately focused on the skills and knowledge needed for success in the global and technological world of the 21st century by funding multiple education entities, including regional education entities, to develop model standards for voluntary adoption;

(b)    support 1) funding for research; 2) financial assistance to states or groups of states, when requested, to assist them in developing and implementing standards addressing the skills and knowledge that students will need in the 21st century; and 3) direct financial assistance to states or groups of states, when requested to assist them in developing and implementing content standards;

(c)    oppose efforts to make the aforementioned activities mandatory on states or local school districts by making it a condition for the receipt of other federal aid;

(d)    oppose efforts to involve the federal government directly or indirectly (e.g. through an entity over which it can exercise control) in the development of common content  standards among groups of states; and,

(e)    ensure that the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and other national assessments as well as international tests do not exceed their current use  of providing comparative data through sampling; and oppose requiring or coercing the use of these assessments by states in developing their own standards or for high stakes accountability purposes.

21st Century Skills

NSBA urges Congress and the Administration to support programs and research that focus on problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, world-language proficiency, and other high-level 21st century skills that are important for success in a global workplace. Congress should support school district capacity to provide the technology and tools necessary to foster innovative learning practices and instructional methods that bridge school and real-world experiences, provide for greater personalization of education, and prepare students for college and/or career.

E-Rate and Education Technology Gaps

NSBA urges Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to continue to modernize and strengthen the E-Rate program to ensure efficient operation of the program, improve the capacity, quality and speed of connectivity in our nation’s schools, and address the technology gaps that remain. Congress and the FCC should do no harm to current school and library recipients during the transition to broadband and other high speed learning options and retain an equity-based method of resource distribution. The FCC should streamline administration of the E-Rate program, maximize local flexibility to use E-Rate resources to meet technology goals, and continue to safeguard Category 1 funding for Internet access. Congress and the Administration should also implement a permanent exemption or other long-term solutions to the Anti-Deficiency Act.

Further, Congress and the FCC should close the education technology gap for children in low-income households that cannot afford out-of-school digital access needed for academic success.

Early Learning

NSBA urges Congress and the Administration to affirm local school district governance in early learning programs and to refrain from imposing mandates on states or school districts with regard to Pre-K and K-3 education such as teacher and principal training and credentials, compensation, instruction, standards, or other areas of local decision making.

Rehiring Teachers Under the Affordable Care Act

NSBA urges Congress to support legislation to clarify that under the federal Affordable Care Act a retiree who participates in a school district’s retiree-only Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) may return to employment in that school district for less than 30 hours per week without jeopardizing his or her eligibility to continue to receive retiree health benefits through an HRA and without jeopardizing the school district’s compliance with the Affordable Care Act.


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