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NSBA President Promotes Congressional Pledge

This year's president of the National School Boards Association, E. Jane Gallucci, believes that there is a unique opportunity for school board members to help change the perception of public education.

"If we want to make a dent in what needs to happen in public education, we must tell Congress that, 'you invited yourselves to the debate, so now fund it'."

Gallucci's remarks were made at the beginning of the Second General Session on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the 2006 Joint Annual Conference in Chicago.

Gallucci, a former school guidance counselor who has served the Pinellas County School District board in Clearwater, Fla. since 1996, used the occasion to promote a new NSBA campaign, "Pledge to America's Schoolchildren." Officials hope to get all federal lawmakers to sign the pledge, whose purpose is to "promote excellence and equity in public education through effective intergovernmental partnerships."

To date, 46 of the nation's 535 lawmakers have signed it.

"It's simple," Gallucci said. "They voted to implement No Child Left Behind, now they need to give local school districts the authority and funding to raise student achievement."

By signing the pledge, lawmakers would "work and vote" to:

  • Improve the No Child Left Behind Act to give local districts better measures for student and school performance, and the support needed to close the achievement gap.
  • Help districts meet the needs of students with disabilities by supporting the funding goals of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA).
  • Support school readiness programs for children entering kindergarten in their districts.
  • Help districts to attract, train and retain highly qualified and effective teachers.
  • Help districts to provide all students with 21st Century skills and knowledge, including math, science and technology.

Before NSBA and state school board representatives go to Washington in February for the annual Federal Relations Network meetings, Gallucci urged members to ask their local Congressmen to sign the pledge. So far, she noted, no one from Illinois has committed to it.

"I'm like you; one board member with one vote. This is a grassroots campaign for local representatives to unite in one message with their national leadership."

For information on the NSBA campaign, visit:

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