TABSE Legislative Report
National Education Policy Institute
NABSE presented the National Education Policy Institute (NEPI) in Washington D.C. on May 4-5, 2017. NEPI is designed to bring legislative and educational experts together in a discussion style setting to bring issues of legislative relevance to attendees. Dr. LaRuth Gray, NABSE Legislative Liaison to the NABSE Board organized the conference and scheduled presenters who brought insightful discussion to topics like “Local and State Control In Relation To Civil Rights”, “Immigration: More Than a Discussion About Dreamers”, “Reauthorization of Higher Education Act” and “ Medicaid And Its Impact On The Health Of Vulnerable Populations In Our Public Schools”.
Approximately 40 attendees took part in the four discussion panel groups conducted on Thursday, May 4th at the American Federation Of Teachers (AFT) national office. NABSE National President Marietta English welcomed NEPI attendees and she took part in our program Thursday and Friday. Representatives from Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia took part in the two day conference and Texas led the way with six attendees including our TABSE president Dr. Kimberly McLeod. Following a full day of discussion panel meetings and prior to the day ending, talking points were issued as a guide for meetings with legislators on Friday.
On Friday morning each attendee was presented with an appointment or assignment to meet with their Congressional representative from their home district by state. A briefing for the day was provided for attendees In the Longworth Congressional Building before they left to meet with their respective Congressional legislators. Meetings were conducted with the Legislative Chairman for Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, Republican from North Carolina. She is the conservative Chairman of the House Committee on Education and The Workforce. We also met with the legislative chairman for Democrat Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. In those meetings were Marietta English, NABSE President, Immediate Past President Dr. Bernard Hamilton, Immediate Past Treasurer, Dr. Doreen Barrett, Dr. LaRuth Gray and Melvin Guider. Each of the four “talking points listed above were briefly discussed with the legislative chairs to reinforce the NABSE stance on each topic and to seek support or continued support and funding for public education and schools.
Dr. McLeod has proposed the formulation of a Texas Education Policy Institute (TEPI) and several current Fellows participated to glean ideas from NEPI to incorporate in TEPI. Building a stronger legislative presence with legislators in Austin and in local communities is the purpose and intent of the TEPI program. Educators becoming more active, visible and involved in political policy affecting education is a necessity in order to protect public education now and in the future. Strength is in numbers and our voices need to be heard by those who represent us in the legislature. NEPI returned after a four year absence and its reinstatement was a welcomed NABSE sponsored event.