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School board members urge Congress to support public schools

J. Kenneth Loucks of the Bellwood-Antis school board and Mary Kimmel of the Altoona Area school board joined nearly 1,000 fellow school board members from across the nation in urging the new 110th Congress to support public schools this year. The board members were in Washington D.C. to take part in the National School Boards Association’s annual Federal Relations Network Conference earlier this year.
Loucks and Kimmel, who are members of the National School Boards Association’s Federal Relations Network, a national grassroots advocacy network, met with their members of Congress to urge them to increase federal funding for public schools, make improvements in the No Child Left Behind law, and help districts attract and retain excellent teachers.
Local school board leaders also called on their Congressional members to sign the Pledge to America’s Schoolchildren, a nationwide, grassroots campaign designed to encourage every member of Congress to publicly show their support for America’s schoolchildren.
“This grassroots effort is designed to positively influence Congressional action in support of our nation’s schoolchildren,” said Loucks.
School board members urged Congress to improve the No Child Left Behind law to more accurately reflect how our schools are doing by using growth models to measure student achievement. They also urged Congress to give states more flexibility in assessing students with disabilities and students not proficient in English. School boards support H.R. 648, a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) that calls for more than 40 specific improvements to the law, and S. 348, introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), that also pushes for many meaningful improvements.
“It is important for our community and our schoolchildren that Congress makes the needed improvements to NCLB,” said Loucks. “We have offered our help and our facts and figures to our Congressional leaders to assist them in the 2007 reauthorization of the NCLB law.”
“Local school board members are on the front lines every day and understand firsthand what our public schoolchildren need to succeed,” said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA executive director. “They are the best advocates in telling their own stories to Congress.”
The National School Boards Association is a national federation of state school boards associations that represent more than 95,000 school board members who govern the nation’s public schools. The organization’s mission is to foster excellence and equity in public elementary and secondary education throughout the United State through local school board leadership.