September 23, 2011

Bob Farrace, NASSP


Reston, VA—NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti issued the following statement in response to President Obama's and Secretary Duncan's announcement of waiver relief from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act provisions:

"While we are disappointed that NCLB relief is coming in the form of waivers rather than regulatory relief, the nation's principals are breathing a bit easier knowing that the law's most onerous and unreasonable provisions might weigh less heavily during the next few years while Congress considers the law's reauthorization. We applaud the Obama administration for its substantive response to a concern shared by principals nationwide.

"If the waivers have to come with new provisions to replace the old, at least these are provisions we can endorse. NASSP was one of the early voices calling for common national standards and assessments in literacy and math, and we are encouraged by the reception the Common Core State Standards have received from states. The moral imperative of college and career readiness permeates the standards, yet many principals are unable to lead a transition to the new standards while they are handcuffed by AYP. We are looking forward to the accelerated implementation of college and career ready standards that the waivers will promote and we are committed to providing school leaders guidance during that implementation.

"Principal evaluation has been a front-burner topic for the past several months, and we thank the administration for promoting a model of principal evaluation that incorporates multiple measures and is developed with input from principals. NASSP and the National Association of Elementary School Principals are collaborating on a project that will provide the very input the waivers call for. We look forward to working with the administration and the states to incorporate our results into principal evaluation models.

"Many of the waiver provisions move public education in the right direction, yet we are concerned by some familiar language—'rigorous interventions' for the states' lowest-performing schools—that echoes the "turnaround" models of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program. Secretary Duncan is aware of NASSP's objection to the models—all of which require the principal's removal and in some cases replacement of 50% of the faculty.

"Had they been in place at the time, these models would have been a hindrance to the accomplishments of the new MetLife/NASSP National Principals of the Year Michael Foran and Linda Archambault, both of whom attended the White House announcement. Michael and Linda shared their extraordinary turnaround stories on Capitol Hill yesterday, and while we heard consistent themes of high expectations and hard work to meet them, neither principal found it necessary to replace any measurable percentage of the faculty. The SIG turnaround models have not been proven to bring about the school reform intended under NCLB. We hope the waivers do not require stringent measures like the removal of the principal and/or faculty.

"Secretary Duncan will join us tonight to celebrate these fine school leaders at our annual Principal of the Year Gala. We are honored by his presence and hope that he recognizes that the passion, commitment, and energy of principals are what turn schools around."


NASSP is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its longstanding commitment to student leadership development as well, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.