ISU leads trip to D.C. for public school leaders

October 23 2008

In a trip that took 10 public school leaders into the halls of the United States Capitol and to the offices of Indiana senators and representatives, Indiana State University brought together federal education officials with Indiana school districts.

The Education Policy Seminar, held from Oct. 20 to 22 in Washington D.C., sought to introduce superintendents, board members, and other school officials to federal policy processes and the regulatory environment, as well as to expose local leaders to national policy makers.

"Elected officials and policy makers benefit from hearing from the education community," said Brad Balch, ISU College of Education dean, who led the trip along with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed. "Understanding the teaching and learning implications for current and future legislation ensures education policy truly serves the public good."

Officials met with members of Sen. Evan Bayh and Sen. Richard Lugar's staffs, as well as Rep. Joe Donnelly, Rep. Mark Souder and Rep. Dan Burton. They also met with representatives from the National Association of Elementary School Principals, Council of Chief State School Officers, American Association of School Administrators and the U.S. Department of Education.

"Participants were able to hone their educational advocacy skills, something often absent from professional programs in teaching and leadership," Balch said about the seminar that was sponsored by ISU's Department of Educational Leadership, Administration and Foundations. "Participants also collectively identified those key issues impacting education in their districts and across Indiana and the nation as well."

Issues discussed were the No Child Left Behind Act and its pending re-authorization, dropouts and dropout prevention, early childhood education focusing on 3 to 5 years olds and English as a Second Language learners.

In addition to discussing the issues, Balch said participants also brainstormed with federal officials about possible solutions.

"Federal policy plays an important role in shaping the future of education in this country and will continue to do so regardless of partisan platforms," Balch said. "It is critical that district leaders have the knowledge, skills and abilities to understand federal policy issues and its implications for state and local education priorities. Well informed K-12 leaders can respond as well as shape educational policy."

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Contact: Brad Balch, Indiana State University, dean of the College of Education, at 812-237-2919 or bbalch@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or at jsicking@indstate.edu

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/400652370_MeUSu-D.jpg

Cutline: Members of Indiana State University's Federal Policy Seminar meet with Sen. Richard Lugar in Washington D.C.

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Story Highlights

The Education Policy Seminar, held from Oct. 20 to 22 in Washington D.C., sought to introduce superintendents, board members, and other school officials to federal policy processes and the regulatory environment, as well as to expose local leaders to national policy makers.

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