Print this Article

Bill Aims to Limit “Unnecessary Federal Intrusion”

NSBA Urges Congress to Support the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act

March 28, 2013

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) praised the introduction (on March 21) of the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act in the U.S. House of Representatives that would protect local school district governance from unnecessary and counter-productive federal intrusion from the U.S. Department of Education.

“Local school boards and local educators play a vital role in educating our nation’s schoolchildren which should not be eroded by unnecessary federal regulations,” said C. Ed Massey, NSBA President and member of Kentucky’s Boone County Board of Education. “The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act would ensure that local school boards have the ability to make decisions to create greater academic success for all students, efficiency, and responsiveness to the desires of local communities.”

This legislation, introduced by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), would ensure that the U.S. Department of Education’s actions are consistent with the specific intent of federal law and are educationally, operationally, and financially supportable at the local level. This would also establish several procedural steps that the Department of Education would need to take prior to initiating regulations, rules, grant requirements, guidance documents, and other regulatory materials. The legislation is also supported by the American Association of School Administrators.

“In recent years local school board members and educators have become increasingly concerned that the local governance of our nation’s school districts is being unnecessarily eroded through over reaching federal policies and requirements established by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director.  “Public education decisions made at the federal level must support the needs and goals of local school districts and the communities they serve. The U.S. Department of Education should not be imposing its rules and priorities to our nation’s more than 13,500 school districts by trying to by-pass Congress and input from the local level.”

Additionally, the legislation is intended to provide the House of Representatives and Senate committees that oversee education with better information regarding the local impact of U.S. Department of Education’s activities. The legislation is also designed to more broadly underscore the role of Congress as the federal policy-maker in education and through its representative function.

“As a former school board president, I believe that the combination of parents, educators, employers and the local community must work together to ensure all children develop the skills and acquire the educational tools they will need to become successful. I believe a big part of this is ensuring local school boards do not have their authority eroded by regulators in Washington,” said Schock. “Not all education regulations are misguided, but the ones that are need to be taken off the books. The focus has to be expanding the opportunity to learn; not tying the hands of local administrators with more red tape by federal bureaucrats. My legislation ensures this encroachment does not continue and restores the local authority school boards need.”

NSBA is encouraging school board members to contact their members of Congress to support passage of this legislation.

Source:  National School Boards Association