Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Greenville County School Board Members Urge U.S. Congress to Make Education a Top Priority
Greenville County School Board Chairman Chuck Saylors, and board members Kenneth Baxter, Glenda Morrison-Fair, and Joy Grayson joined more than 750 school board and state school board association leaders in Washington, D.C. this week to advocate for strong public schools for all children.
School board members were in Washington, D.C. to participate in the National School Board Association’s new Advocacy Institute, held February 2-4, 2014. The focus of the Advocacy Institute centers on building year-round advocates for public education and local school governance in three primary areas: public, legal, and legislative advocacy. During the Institute, school board members engage in a national grassroots legislative effort that urges members of the U.S. Congress to make public education a top priority.
“Our local school board members understand the needs of our communities and schools and work to serve the best interests of our school children in a manner that top-down, federal government decision-making will never be able to do,” said Board Chair Chuck Saylors. “We need Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to work with us to ensure that all children are receiving the best education we can provide.”
School board members are monitoring federal intrusion and overreach that has impacted local school district policy and programs in ways that exceed the intent of our laws. NSBA has worked with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives to introduce The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, H.R. 1386, supported by Rep. Trey Gowdy of the 4th Congressional District, which recognizes the benefits of local school district governance and ensures maximum local flexibility and decision-making are not eroded through the action of the U.S. Department of Education.
Resources and federal funding are also significant concerns for local school districts. School districts have recently seen cuts in their budgets because of across-the-board budget cuts last year by Congress through the process known as sequestration. During their day of Capitol Hill visits on Tuesday, February 4, 2014, school board members urged members of Congress to accelerate investments in public education that support local efforts to continue to raise student achievement, such as increasing E-Rate funding to provide broadband internet access to local schools and libraries and appropriating full funding for economically-challenged and special education children.
“We need strong public schools to ensure that our children are well-prepared for college and careers in today’s rapidly changing global economy,” said Joy Grayson, Board of Trustees’ Liaison to the NSBA Advocacy Institute. “Our nation’s free, high-quality, and universally available public schools remain the greatest investment that can be made in our country’s most important asset, its human capital. Attending the National School Board Association’s Advocacy Institute gave us the opportunity to focus on emerging state and federal education issues and to add our local expertise to the conversations in Washington to ensure that new policies are beneficial to all of our children.”