FGN News: October 2015

Happy National Principals Month!

October is National Principals Month and it is a perfect time to take action on issues important to principals across the country. This month is a great opportunity for you to arrange for local, state or federal policymakers to shadow you for a day. Congress will be on recess and in their home districts the week of Columbus Day (October 13–16). Visit the National Principals Month website to access an email template that you can use to easily invite them to follow you through a typical day at your school and show them the effects of education policy in action!

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Budget and Appropriations
Under pressure from more conservative members of the Republican Party, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he will resign from Congress effective October 31, paving the way for the passage of a clean spending bill last week to keep the government open. Conservative members had threatened to prevent passage of a spending bill unless Planned Parenthood was defunded. Those members’ priorities, which include the defunding of Planned Parenthood and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, will now be considered in the budget reconciliation. Reconciliation bills are considered under special rules requiring a simple majority and cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

ESEA
Congress came back from the August recess with a full agenda including forming a Conference Committee to tackle producing a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The retirement of Speaker Boehner puts even greater pressure on Democrats and the White House to reach a deal to pass a reauthorization of ESEA in Congress but it is unlikely to happen with budget and appropriations bills still left to pass. NASSP is continuing to put pressure on Congress—the visiting state Principal of the Year winners had many meetings on the Hill with their members of Congress to urge the reauthorization of ESEA this Congress. You too can lend your voice to the cause today by sending an email to your senators and representatives through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center.

Homework Gap
Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) recently introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act (H.R. 3582) to ensure students and their families have broadband Internet access in their homes. This issue is sometimes referred to as the “homework gap” because lack of Internet access can make it difficult for students to complete homework assignments. NASSP along with the National Association for Elementary School Principals and other education advocacy groups sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee supporting the bill. You can read more about this issue in a recent post on our School of Thought blog detailing our advocacy on this issue.

Thank You

Thank you to the 295 NASSP members (so far) who have taken action to urge their Senators and Representatives to support a full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Your emails and tweets let Capitol Hill know that principals have been waiting long enough for a new ESEA. It is not too late to lend your own voice—visit the Principal’s Legislative Action Center to read suggested text and send it to your legislators!