Advocacy Institute brings Oregon education issues to D.C.
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
During the 2023 NSBA Advocacy Institute, newly elected U.S. Rep. Val Hoyle, D-Oregon, (center) met Oregon school board representatives including (from left) Helen Ying, OSBA Oregon School Board Members of Color Caucus secretary; OSBA Board President Sonja McKenzie; OSBA Board President-elect Sami Al-Abdrabbuh and OSBA Executive Director Jim Green. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Val Hoyle's office)
OSBA Executive Director Jim Green and Legislative Services Specialist Richard Donovan flew to Washington, D.C., with Oregon school board members, including OSBA Board members. The Jan. 29-31 event brought together school board members from around the country for sessions on topics ranging from teacher shortages to parental rights, Advocacy Institute training and meetings with legislators.
“It was an honor to lead the OSBA delegation in conversations with our legislators on Capitol Hill,” said OSBA Board President Sonja McKenzie, a Parkrose School Board member. “We shared our top education priorities for Oregon students and are appreciative of their willingness to engage in a great conversation.”
Green said the delegation emphasized the importance of Congress stepping up to fund 40% of special education costs required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. He said they also shared school districts’ challenges with maintaining staffing and programs to address the social and emotional health of students struggling after the pandemic.
Board members spoke with Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Reps. Suzanne Bonamici, Cliff Bentz, Earl Blumenauer, Val Hoyle and Lori Chavez-DeRemer. They discussed issues ranging from expanded Pell grant access to trade school pathways and behavioral health.
Board members also toured the Capitol and had a chance to attend the NSBA Equity Symposium on Saturday, Jan. 28. OSBA Board President-elect Sami Al-Abdrabbuh (Corvallis School Board) and Melissa Goff, Gov. Tina Kotek’s education adviser and formerly OSBA deputy executive director, presented a breakout session during the symposium: “Post-COVID Board Redesign: Seizing Opportunity to Diversify Board Leadership.”