Minnesota School Superintendents and MREA Board Members Matt Schultz and Tim Lutz joined MREA Executive Director Fred Nolan in Washington D.C. to connect with federal lawmakers on key education issues and help shape the national rural E-12 platform.
“We were able to put the needs of our rural Minnesota students front and center for their consideration,” said Schultz, superintendent of Lanesboro Public Schools.
Schultz and Lutz, of Bemidji Public Schools, joined Nolan in bringing the voice of Greater Minnesota education to Capitol Hill, advocating on key issues and sharing impact stories with a variety of lawmakers, including Congresswoman Craig and Congressman Stauber.
“The most important piece of legislation for which we encouraged their support was the IDEA Full Funding Act,” Schultz said. “The act would not only reauthorize IDEA but would increase funding over a ten-year period to eventually reach the 40 percent originally promised from federal government.”
MREA collaborated with rural education representatives from all parts of the United States to develop the platform that the national coalition and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) will use to improve the state of the rural education across America.
The NREAC identified four priorities:
- Preserve critical federal funding for rural schools
- Expand and improve federal programs to address teacher shortages in rural communities
- Fully fund IDEA
- Protect rural schools from privatization schemes
Each of these goals fits well within the needs of rural schools in Minnesota.
“As I met with rural education directors and superintendents from around the United States, it was clear that most of us are working with the same issue: How do we provide the highest quality education for our students in the face of funding difficulties and potentially declining populations?” Schultz said.