As we move into the winter break, there are two important opportunities for education policy advocacy at the national level.
First, the National Education Association’s Legislative Committee (of which I am a member) is offering three webinar trainings in the coming months to give union members a deeper understanding of how NEA’s Legislative Program guides its advocacy in Congress.
These legislative listening sessions will clarify the process for amending our national Legislative Program as well as offer real time updates about what is happening on Capitol Hill. Feel free to attend just one of the sessions or all three, but please do register in advance. The links to register are below:
Next, two pieces of bi-partisan legislation that make up the Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization Act are working their way through Congress. These bills, one sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in the Senate (S.2581) and its identical companion piece in the U.S. House (H.R. 5030), are of significant importance for Idaho. Our state stands to lose a staggering $26 million in federal funding dedicated to supporting rural education if this program is not reauthorized.
Unfortunately, our delegation in the U.S. House, Reps. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) have not signed on to co-sponsor the House version of the legislation.
Please ACT NOW! Send a letter to your Idaho Representative asking him to co-sponsor this important legislation for Idaho rural schools. You can personalize your letter or use the form letter in the link above. Here are a few key points you can use in writing your letter:
- Preserving Rural Education: The funding provided through this legislation is essential for maintaining and improving the quality of education in rural areas. It supports programs and initiatives that directly benefit students, teachers, and communities in these regions.
- Preventing Resource Shortages: Rural schools often face unique challenges, including resource shortages. The federal funding at stake helps bridge the gap and ensures that these schools have the necessary resources to provide a well-rounded education for their students.
- Supporting Educational Equity: Access to quality education should not be compromised based on geographic location. This legislation plays a crucial role in promoting educational equity by providing financial support to rural schools, ultimately benefiting the students who need it most.
I appreciate all of you and hope to see you during one of the legislative listening sessions coming up. I also want to thank you in advance for encouraging your representative in Congress to support and co-sponsor the Secure Rural Schools Reauthorization Act. Enjoy your break and take time for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge.
Peggy Hoy is co-chair of IEA’s Government Relations/Political Action Committee for Education committee. She serves on IEA’s board of directors and on IEA’s budget committee. She’s been public school educator for 32 years and is currently a middle school instructional coach in the Twin Falls School District.