NSBA's Federal Relations Network

Identifying the issues, influencing legislation and shaping the debate on key education issues

Influence public education policy at the federal level through NSBA's Federal Relations Network

The FRN is NSBA's grassroots advocacy program that provides the opportunity for school board members from every congressional district in the country who are committed to public education to get involved in federal advocacy. For more than 40 years, school board members have been lobbying for public education on Capitol Hill as one unified voice through this program. If you are a school director and willing to carry the public education message to Washington, D.C., FRN membership is a good place to start!

Pennsylvania's participation in the FRN is organized through PSBA. There is no membership fee charged to participate in FRN. NSBA's policy opens membership to school directors only.

2014 Federal Relations Network members appointed (Sept. 2013)

The PSBA Board of Directors recently approved the appointments of 74 more school board members, to serve for the remainder of the 2013-14 session. Fifty-nine returning FRN members will continue serving. The board's action completes a three-month period of recruitment to ensure that Pennsylvania's school board leaders are represented at the federal level. >> more

FRN group photo

The Benefits of Participating in FRN

As an FRN advocate, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Access to special reports and publications found on the "members only" section and National School Boards Action Center of the NSBA website at www.nsba.org
  • NSBA's Legislative Highlights and Action Alerts containing vital information and updates on the most important federal education legislation and national issues impacting public education
  • Tools to help you craft stronger education policy arguments and convey your points effectively with your members of Congress and their Congressional staff;
  • The opportunity to attend the only national legislative conference just for school board members held in Washington, D.C. each year

Your Opportunity to go to Capitol Hill

As a member of the FRN, you will be invited to add your voice to the 800 plus school directors who attend NSBA's FRN Conference in Washington, D.C. each year. The next FRN Conference is Feb. 2-4, 2014, at the Hilton Washington Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. You would be responsible for securing your own financing from the school district, intermediate unit, career and technical school or personally. In order to give you a better idea of the costs involved, the 2013 FRN Conference registration fee was $695, plus travel and lodging costs at the conference rate (Hilton Washington Hotel was $226/night in 2013). The opportunity to attend the FRN Conference is a coveted benefit of the FRN program and it's the only national legislative conference just for school board members. Please note that PSBA no longer requires attendance at the conference in order to continue serving on the FRN, but a solid state presence of school board members at the conference demonstrates Pennsylvania's commitment to influencing federal legislation. In addition, the learning opportunities give you the knowledge and the skills to be a leader on federal legislation throughout the year.

Your Responsibilities as an FRN member would include:

    • Staying informed on federal legislative issues and sharing the information along with the local impact with your superintendent and other members of your school board;
    • Cultivating a relationship and communicating regularly with your U. S. Senator and U.S. Representative on federal issues that affect public education and encouraging your school board colleagues to do the same;
    • Taking action on the NSBA's Action Alerts by making phone calls, sending e-mails, sending letters and making personal visits to your senator and representative as necessary during the year;
    • Attending, if possible, the annual FRN Conference, which includes in-depth training on the most pressing federal issues, hearing from political analysts, meetings with the Pennsylvania delegation and finally, meeting with your representative on Capitol Hill;
    • Committing to serve for the remainder of the 2-year congressional session (2013-14) for the 113th Congress which began in January 2013.

Over the years, some of the top federal issues have included:

  • Strengthening federal support for sustained investments in Title I and IDEA
  • Urging the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
  • Implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
  • Investing in Early Childhood Education
  • Teacher and Principal Effectiveness
  • State-Led Common Core Academic Standards and Assessments
  • Charter Schools
  • Private School Vouchers
  • Impressing the importance of local school board governance

If you are interested in influencing public education policy at the federal level and would like Pennsylvania's school directors to have a strong presence on Capitol Hill, we encourage you to accept this opportunity.  Members of Congress have told us that they have come to rely on FRN members to advise them on the vast array of issues affecting the public schools in their congressional districts. What you have to say is relevant and your local experience and knowledge is critical to setting the education legislative agenda for the remainder of the 113th Congress.

Contact Karen Devine, director of member relations at karen.devine@psba.org with questions or for more information.


FRN members attend the 2013 NSBA FRN conference, meet with members of Congress

With federal cuts to education looming, school board members from across Pennsylvania and the nation attended the FRN conference Jan. 27-29, 2013, in Washington, D.C., and met with their members of Congress on Capitol Hill. FRN members advocated for the protection of federal education programs from across-the-board budget cuts that are scheduled to occur under the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act, if Congress does not intervene before March 1, 2013. NSBA is reporting that budget cuts would be around 5.1% in fiscal year 2013-14, if the sequester is not averted, which amounts to $51,000 for every $1 million a school district receives in federal aid. In addition, these funding cuts would continue until the year 2021. (read more here>>)

Pennsylvania delegation attended the FRN conference, Jan. 27-29, in Washington, D.C., where they met with their members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Below are pictures of the delegation's meeting with Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr.