The Advocate March 2022: The Legislative Agenda

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The Advocate March 2022: The Legislative Agenda

At the start of each year, the governing bodies representing AASA, The School Superintendents Association, gather to determine federal policy positions for the organization.

In January 2022, AASA’s Executive Committee had the unique opportunity to meet with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto Rodríguez, and Acting Assistant Secretary Katherine Neas, who oversees the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS).  Both sides engaged in a robust conversation about alleviating the teacher shortage and the need to streamline federal data collection. 

These annual conversations with key federal education officials as well as legislators and staff on Capitol Hill help ensure that AASA’s Legislative Agenda continues to reflect the most important federal education policy and funding issues each year. It is also an opportunity for informal conversations with AASA’s Advocacy Team, so they can gain clarity on our positions on a host of policy issues that are likely to arise. 

This year’s conversation focused on what AASA’s position should be pertaining to the extension of universal school meals policies as well as what policy levers exist for reducing bus driver shortages. At the end of the three-day meeting, the Executive Committee voted to approve the Legislative Agenda. 

In February, prior to the annual National Conference on Education, the AASA Governing Board meets to review the Legislative Agenda and debate potential edits, add clarifying language and eventually adopt the agenda. These conversations among Governing Board members reveal the diversity of AASA’s membership and serve as an important function of why the finally adopted agenda is so extensive, specific and nuanced. 

The guiding principle of AASA’s 2022 Legislative Agenda stems from the important role the federal government stands to play in creating equitable learning opportunities for all students. This starts with equitable policy and resources, both of which should remain available to all students, schools and states. It also includes the protection and preservation of federal education funding when compared with other federal investments. 

Of note, this year’s agenda calls out a specific need for federal policy and funding to support districts’ efforts to provide mental health services for students, staff and families. It also delves into the critical supports for equitable federal funding mechanisms, including key federal programs such as Title I and IDEA, as well as a robust conversation to revise and strengthen the efficacy of poverty indicators within federal education programs. In addition, it highlights the importance of having federal education policy address the educator shortage and the acknowledgement that schools need a pipeline of high-quality educators to operate, function and provide equitable education to students including support for existing and innovative instructional models. 

We encourage you to review the 2022 Legislative Agenda and to contact us if you have specific questions or concerns. 

Unlike other education associations, we provide our advocacy positions as being completely driven by our members. While it’s not always easy or popular to relay the complexity of some positions, we are respected by all federal policy entities we engage with for truly representing the views of the field we are proud to represent.