The National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition (NREAC) gathered in Washington, DC and Alexandria, VA on April 3-4 to meet with federal legislators and their staff about rural education issues and funding. MREA Board of Directors members Luther Heller and Scott Vedbraaten attended to represent MREA and Greater Minnesota schools.

Heller and Vedbraaten met with educational staff for Representative Collin Peterson and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and expressed MREA’s appreciation for these legislators’ strong support for public education.

Key Discussion Points

Key points of discussion with the educational staff included:

  • Importance of E-rate funding to rural districts
  • Impact of vouchers and private school tax credits on public education
  • Implementation of ESSA
  • Importance of fully funding special education
  • Federal funding for Title programs and Perkins funding
  • Local initiatives to collaboratively utilize Perkins funding to expand CTE offerings

In addition to visiting with staff of Minnesota legislators, coalition participants heard from staff of the key leaders of the various education committees and attended a presentation on the importance of rural schools.

New Rural Education Agenda

The coalition concluded its work Tuesday when it met and developed a rural education legislative agenda. The agenda is being fine-tuned and will be shared with MREA’s membership after approval by the coalition.