State Board Report
By the time you read this Memo, the 2015 NASBA Regional Meetings will be starting (June 17-19 Western and June 24-26 Eastern). From time to time, I have written about my concern that a few states are not able to attend NASBA meetings because of some bureaucratic resistance or outright prohibition of allowing State Board members and staff to travel. The rationale is typically not money, as State Boards are usually adequately funded, plus NASBA will provide scholarships to any state that does not have the ability to send a representative to our Regional and/or Annual Meetings. More frequently the travel ban results from the Board’s inability to adequately describe the part the Meetings can play in contributing to their competence as regulators.
As I was watching a special on the recent retirement of late night talk show host David Letterman, with some of his "Top Ten" lists, I began to think of the important reasons why each State Board should attend NASBA meetings during these changing times. While Letterman’s lists were meant to provoke laughter, the "Top Ten" I have compiled might provide talking points that could be used to persuade reluctant State officials to support attendance at these important meetings:
NASBA meetings also include a social program that offers good food, entertainment and optional tours for guests, but these are all elements designed to have the total meeting promote relaxed, open discourse among regulators. A Letterman list might go for some laughs based on these lighter aspects of the meetings, but those are not part of my Top Ten. Everyone sees our meetings department does a great job of making sure my Top Ten are offered in a pleasant package.
As we become more successful in getting the vast majority of states attending and participating in NASBA meetings, the relevance, quality and importance of these meetings are continually increasing. This also places a bright light on the remaining states that are unable to attend. Hopefully the "Top Ten" list is a way to begin the conversation in those states, but remember, NASBA is always willing to step in and assist in discussions with a State Board’s oversight department, executives or legislators.
I look forward to the day when every State Board is represented at NASBA meetings. In the meantime, I also look forward to seeing more State Boards’ representatives at the upcoming NASBA Regional Meetings than I did last year.
Semper ad meliora. (Always toward better things.)
— Ken L. Bishop
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