On the Hill: Congressional Influence

By Reginald Felton

Can school board members really influence Congress? The answer is, unequivocally, yes. And you may be aware that NSBA’s Federal Relations Network (FRN) has been expanded to have at least one member of every school board across the nation who is actively engaged in grassroots efforts.

Collectively, school board members can have far greater influence on members of Congress than ever before. Board members can and must influence their members of Congress if we are to advance public education and local school board governance.

In order to effectively influence members of Congress, board members must understand that it takes in-depth knowledge of education, passion and commitment to the issue, and a strong and sustained relationship with their members of Congress.

In developing an in-depth knowledge of the issues, NSBA, your state school boards association, and your school district staff can certainly help you. Your own experiences and engagement with the issues in your community will help you create the level of passion and commitment to the issue that is needed. However, only you can develop and sustain a strong and truly effective relationship with your members of Congress.

Just as voters in your community have varying degrees of influence on your decision-making process as a member of the school board, voters in your state or in your congressional district have varying degrees of influence on your members of Congress. Your goal must be to become one of those key influencers.

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