MREA joined the National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition (NREAC) in Washington, DC in April to connect with federal legislators regarding rural education concerns. Todd Holthaus, MREA Board President, Dr. Luther Heller, MREA Board Member, and Dr. Fred Nolan, MREA Executive Director, attended on behalf of MREA to help develop the federal rural education legislative agenda.

MREA Raises Concerns

MREA’s delegates met with educational staffers for Representatives Collin Peterson and Tim Walz and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith. Key points of discussion¬† included:

  • Importance of E-rate and REAP funding to rural districts
  • Importance of continued federal impact aid focus on public schools versus voucher program
  • Teacher shortage and possible solutions
  • Possibility that initially favorable Federal funding could go away through Administration recision
  • Importance of fully funding special education

After visiting with legislators, participants developed a rural education legislative agenda. This will be shared with MREA members after approval by NREA members.

Organizational Concerns

Attendees also heard from several leaders of national organizations regarding rural education concerns:

Dr. Heller also participated in a panel discussion on how technology supports rural schools. Joining him were leaders from National Rural Education Association, Indiana Small and Rural Schools  Association, and Talbot County (MD) Public Schools.