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Advocacy Efforts Continue on ESEA

October 15, 2015

The Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and its federal advocacy partners descended on Washington, D.C. recently to encourage Congressional representatives to support the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and discuss other key federal issues.

ACSA Legislative Advocate Laura Preston and California School Boards Association representatives Erika Hoffman and Dennis Meyers joined federal advocates Reg Leichty and Amy Starzynski from Foresight Law + Policy to meet with federal lawmakers. ACSA and CSBA joined forces to hire the D.C.-based Leichty and Starzynski last year to represent educational management positions on an ongoing basis and increase federal advocacy efforts, per the ACSA Strategic Plan.

The group met with Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell; Senior Advisor/Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education Ann Whalen; key staff in the Senate and House education committees and Senate Agriculture Committee; California Congressional representatives; and other key officials.

Preston said one of ACSA’s greatest concerns with ESEA reauthorization is to ensure any new mandates do not upend the work California has already done to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap. While California is unique in its diversity, ACSA believes it is important that all students in all states have the opportunities and resources they need.

In fact, Preston said California is ahead of the nation on many issues surrounding equity and diversity. She shared the work ACSA has done on these issues, and it resonated well with federal officials. ACSA will provide more information to federal lawmakers on what true cultural proficiency looks like.

One of the biggest issues the group discussed was student data privacy. The Senate version of ESEA reauthorization calls for a student data privacy task force to meet over the next year to determine how to approach this issue. This year alone, more than 182 bills have been introduced in various state legislatures on student data privacy and most are modeled after California’s bills. ACSA has been working with its legal partners to identify the good and bad with each bill, and ACSA is pushing for California to have a representative on the task force to share our experiences on this issue.

The group discussed other issues as well, including the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, and support of the Social Security Fairness Act.

Federal delegates will continue to discuss these issues during another trip to Washington, D.C. in October.

Source:  Association of California School Administrators

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