Statement from the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP):
Our three organizations, representing the nation’s nearly 100,000 principals, applaud the Senate for its passage of the bipartisan Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177), which includes many of our recommendations to provide principals with necessary support, training, and resources to help students and teachers achieve their greatest potential.
Numerous provisions contained in S. 1177 represent a huge step forward from current legislation: the elimination of adequate yearly progress and the 100 percent proficiency requirements, tempering the test-and-punish provisions of No Child Left Behind; the continued requirement of disaggregated subgroup data; removal of the unworkable school turnaround models required under the School Improvement Grant and Race to the Top programs; clarification of the term school leader as the principal of an elementary, middle or high school; inclusion of the use of Title II funds for a “School Leadership Residency Program”; activities to improve the recruitment, preparation, placement, support, and retention of effective principals and school leaders in high-need schools; and the allowable use of Title II funds to develop induction and mentoring programs that are designed to improve school leadership and provide opportunities for mentor principals and other educators who are experienced and effective.
However, as we previously shared in our joint letter on the bill, certain aspects of the bill must be improved by the Conference Committee in order to fully meet the needs of school leaders and their students. Principal professional development must be a required use of Title II funds; states are not required to base assessment and accountability systems on student growth; and the law does not urge states and districts to adopt principal evaluation systems that incorporate the six key domains of school leadership (namely, student growth and achievement; school planning and progress; school culture; stakeholder support and engagement; professional qualities and practices; and professional growth and learning).
Our organizations will be strongly encouraging principals and other school leaders to urge the conferees to adopt these much-needed improvements to the legislation. We look forward to fully endorsing a final piece of legislation that fully recognizes the crucial role that school leaders play in fostering student growth and in creating safe and supportive school environments.
The American Federation of School Administrators is the exclusive union for administrators, professionals and supervisors advocating for excellence and equity in all of our schools, workplaces and communities. AFSA members are leaders in their schools and communities and are charged with the privilege and responsibility of helping to mold our nation’s students into successful, mindful individuals. As school leaders, AFSA members are constantly advocating for better public schools and systems of education. AFSA members are active in the labor movement and proudly stand in solidarity with all trade unionists and school administrators.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.
Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle level principals in the United States and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, advancing advocacy and providing professional development and resources for instructional leadership, including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and effective educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit www.naesp.org. NAESP administers the National Principals Resource Center, the American Student Council Association, and the President’s Education Awards & American Citizenship Awards Programs.