Working Together For Education Funding #MakesSense

Written by Griffin Stein | 4 months ago

On Wednesday, July 18th, I joined the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) coalition on Capitol Hill to advocate for greater federal investment in education. Representing NCLD, I met with staffers and other coalition members, from as far away as Colorado and Texas, in support of the #5CentsMakesSense campaign, which calls for increased funding from a current 2 cents to 5 cents of every federal dollar.  

In our small group of four, we summarized the problem of underfunding education programs and shared how the president’s proposed FY 2019 budget would continue that trend.  We made sure to explain how this problem affects each Congressperson’s district and their constituents. Throughout the day, I met with a staffer from the office of Rep. John Culberson of Texas to discuss the appropriations process, and had the opportunity to advocate for full IDEA funding.

From my first experience having meetings on Capitol Hill, I took away a new appreciation for the ability of a advocate to come into the room prepared to not only advocate for their agenda but to understand the current legislative undercurrent, relate back to staffers’ districts and quickly recall a set of precise figures to sway any concerns. Effective lobbying requires confidence and the ability to leave a strong impression on the staffer.

From this, I learned more about the realities of meeting with Congress and the expertise and speed needed to respond effectively on-the-spot and remain focused on the issue. It was eye-opening to see advocates in action, with the determination and skill required to persuade an audience on complex policy issues.  

For NCLD, education funding is vital to ensure state and local budgets can meet the needs of all students, develop a strong 21st-century workforce, and provide the full resources and supports students with disabilities need to reach their potential. I was pleased to see this effort in action during my visit to Capitol Hill, and look forward to what will come of from NCLD’s partnership with CEF .

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