KSBA team of board members, advocacy talks about federal elementary, secondary education issues during Congressional office visits

Kentucky representatives stressed local decision making and close working relationships during three days of federal-level meetings June 12-14 during the National School Boards Association’s annual Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C.

Representing KSBA and its members at this year’s sessions were President Allen Kennedy of Hancock County, Board of Directors members Davonna Page of Russellville Independent and Diane Mackey of Daviess County, Boone County board members Karen Byrd and Ed Massey, KSBA Executive Director Mike Armstrong and Governmental Relations Specialist Debbie Wesslund, a former Jefferson County board member.

On NSBA’s “Day on the Hill,” the team had face-to-face meetings with Kentucky Reps. Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie and Thomas Massie, all Republicans; with Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth; and with staff from the office of GOP Rep. Hal Rogers. On the Senate side, they met with Republican Sen. Rand Paul and with staff members of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican.

Armstrong said, “First and foremost and in all of our stops, we thanked the members for their work on ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) and that legislation’s emphasis on returning decision-making to local boards of education and their respective state departments of education. And we encouraged them that any over-regulatory attempts by the U.S. Department of Education relative to the ESSA should be turned back.

“We likewise shared that we supported Commissioner Pruitt in his recent correspondence with the federal education agency and that we hoped each member of Kentucky’s Congressional delegation would likewise support his efforts.”

An estimated 575 school board members and association staff from across the country took part in this year’s NSBA Advocacy Institute. Participants heard from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), one of the primary authors of the ESSA law; U.S. Department of Education Secretary John King; CNN senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin; and noted University of Virginia Professor of Politics Larry Sabato.

Photo Above: Congressman Brett Guthrie (top right) exchanges insights on K-12 issues with the KSBA team (bottom right and up) Executive Director Mike Armstrong, Governmental Relations Specialist Debbie Wesslund, Daviess County board member Diane Mackey, President Allen Kennedy of Hancock County and Russellville Independent board member Davonna Page.

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