Representatives from ACSA and the California School Boards Association gather around U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, front center, during the annual Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip in Washington, D.C.
ACSA and CSBA unite for federal advocacy
April 29, 2024
Nearly 300 California public school district superintendents and board members went to Washington, D.C., this month as ACSA and the California School Boards Association teamed up for their Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip.
“Over the years we’ve learned that putting superintendents and school board members in the same room with federal lawmakers is powerful,” said ACSA Executive Director Edgar Zazueta. “This annual trip put us front and center with the individuals who make decisions at the national level.”
This is the third year of this event, which combines federal budget and program updates, breakout sessions and the advocacy trip to Capitol Hill. This year, participants were advocating on issues related to teacher retention and recruitment, increasing special education funding and access to broadband and reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools Act, as well as increasing cybersecurity and data protections at school sites.
“We advocated on real issues that are directly impacting our six million California public school students and school communities,” said ACSA President-elect Rafael Plascencia. “The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the challenges we face with teacher recruitment and broadband access, and we felt that our lawmakers needed to understand the real impact of these issues.”
On the first full day of the advocacy trip, participants spent time with Cindy Marten, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education and former superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. Participants also heard from Education Week Editor Alyson Klein, Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, and political strategist and pollster Celinda Lake.
The focus of the trip was a full day of advocacy work on Capitol Hill. Among the meetings with lawmakers, Coast2Coast participants spent time with California Sens. Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler, as well as state congressional Reps. Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and Pete Aguilar.
“This is all about bringing real-world experiences to our federal government,” said Zazueta. “We value every moment we have to tell our story because nobody can define it better than we can.”
ACSA Vice President Daryl Camp, superintendent of San Lorenzo Unified School District, was part of the delegation on Capitol Hill. He said having superintendents and board members working together to support their students sends a strong message to federal lawmakers.
“The work to support our students doesn’t end with what we do in our school communities,” he said. “We must take our advocacy one step further and I think we achieved that by being part of this event.”
The delegation representing ACSA and the California School Boards Association that took part in the 2024 Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip.
ACSA members and staff meet with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, third from left.
ACSA leaders meet with Rep. Adam Schiff, center.
The Coast2Coast Federal Advocacy Trip was April 8-10, 2024.