Advocacy Priorities

NSBAC provides national grassroots advocacy on important public education issues. In 2023 and beyond, NSBAC is committed to building and strengthening relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, as well as key officials within the executive branch.

Below are NSBAC’s key advocacy priorities and the advocacy actions you can take on behalf of the nation’s public school students.

Authorizing and Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Authorizing and Funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)


Securing full funding for and modernizing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a critical issue for NSBAC and school board members across the nation. IDEA was enacted to ensure that every student with a disability has access to a free and appropriate public education. Unfortunately, the federal government has not lived up to its promise to provide 40 percent of the excess costs to support students who need extra help. Instead, federal appropriations have consistently fallen well short, forcing states and local school districts to use funds from their general education budgets to cover the special education expenses the federal government should pay. That hurts all students.

NSBAC urges Congress to meet its obligation to fund 40 percent of the cost of educating children under the requirements of the federal law and supporting the placement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) within mandatory spending portions of the budget to ensure that, over a period of time, the obligation will be met as a federal budgetary priority.

ADVOCACY ACTION REQUESTED: Contact your Member of Congress to urge them to support the IDEA Full Funding Act.

Introduced by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Representative Jared Huffman (D-CA), the bipartisan, bicameral IDEA Full Funding Act would finally ensure Congress’ commitment to fully fund IDEA by establishing a clear path towards fully achieving the federal share of resources needed to address the unique needs of our students with disabilities. 

We invite you to join our grassroots advocacy effort to support the IDEA Full Funding Act by texting IDEA to the number 5-2-8-8-6. You will receive a grassroot message from NSBAC to engage with Congress and advocate for full funding for IDEA.


Prioritizing Student Mental Health


Congress should approve greater and sustained federal resources that expand access to mental health services and support comprehensive “wrap-around” services to schools, including a range of community resources to address safety and intervention. Also important is increased funding and additional resources to support local school districts’ efforts to address students’ mental health, safety, and social needs, including dedicated funding to hire health professionals, including school nurses, counselors, social services managers, and mental health professionals to support the health and well-being of America’s students.

ADVOCACY ACTION REQUSTED – Urge your members of Congress to support measures that will expand access to mental health support for students in local schools.


Supporting Increased Funding for Staffing Needs


The federal government can help address staff shortages in school districts across the country by retaining federal policies to provide loan forgiveness for teachers and principals who serve in public schools, encourage the simplification and transparency of the loan application process, and oppose predatory collection processes. States and school districts can also redesign and implement teacher compensation systems linked to the goals of increasing student achievement and high standards. To attract and retain highly-qualified teachers, school boards should seek and support flexible compensation programs to reward teachers who have the qualifications and experience to teach students, especially in the most challenged, hard-to-staff schools and in the content areas of any schools experiencing shortages of qualified personnel.

ADVOCACY ACTION REQUESTED – Urge your members of Congress to identify areas where additional staff resources are needed and provide needed support.


Support Increased Funding for Expanded Broadband Access


Established in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) allows schools and libraries to provide students, teachers, and library patrons with devices and internet service in their homes. Demand for the program is very high. In the final application window, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received requests for $2.8 billion in ECF funds, which was more than double the amount remaining in the program. Without additional funding, many of these requests will not be met, leaving millions of students disconnected.

ADVOCACY ACTION REQUESTED: Urge your members of Congress to provide an additional $1 billion for the Emergency Connectivity Fund.