Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The D.C. area was hit with the biggest snowstorm in a decade, beginning on Friday, January 22, causing closures, delays, and cancellations across the city, including on Capitol Hill. But elsewhere, politicos were more concerned with the run up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries. Iowans go to the polls today, February 1, to elect the first delegates to this summer’s Democratic and Republican Conventions. The New Hampshire primaries will play out next week on February 9.

Why should principals care?

Education has largely been a nonissue in both parties’ primaries, getting almost no mention on debate stages or in political ads. Experts predict that will be the case for the rest of the election. A recent report titled, Public Concern About Education in 2016: What the Numbers Say, from the American Enterprise Institute outlines the interesting history of why that is. Nevertheless, no matter who is elected, the new president will be responsible for appointing a new secretary of education and implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act.

In the Press

Building a Stronger Principalship Vol. 4: Evaluating and Supporting Principals, The Wallace Foundation

This report is the fourth in a series on The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a six-year effort designed to help six urban school districts build larger pools of strong principals. Researchers examined how districts sought to refine their evaluation systems and the support that principals received in response. Some of what they looked at included how districts tailored evaluations to help improve, rather than penalize, principals, and how evaluations emphasized both student achievement and principal best practices. For more on principal evaluations, check out the NASSP report, Rethinking Principal Evaluation: A New Paradigm Informed by Research and Practice.

When Winners Are Losers: Private School Vouchers in Louisiana, Brookings Institution

Researchers examining the private school voucher system in Louisiana found that students who had won vouchers in the statewide lottery had lower performance in math, social studies, and science than the lottery losers. In the Louisiana voucher system, there are a limited amount of vouchers every year and also a limited number of private schools that accept vouchers. In addition, the private schools must accept vouchers as the full tuition cost and cannot choose the students who attend their school. Researchers did qualify that this was only one year of data. They also offered that the private schools participating previously had declining enrollment, suggesting that they were not passing muster with the paying parents.

Proficient vs. Prepared 2016: State Test Results Are Getting Closer to Student Achievement on NAEP, Achieve

In this annual report, Achieve tracked the differences between a state’s reported test results and the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). In the last year, 16 states have eliminated or nearly eliminated this gap—meaning that the proficiency rates from their state tests are within five percentage points of their proficiency rates from the NAEP tests. States are also converging (some states used to overestimate proficiency by large percentages, while others were underestimating it). Achieve attributes this to the adoption of Common Core-aligned tests or similar tests aligned to college and career ready standards.

‘The Kids Come First’: A Day With D.C.’s Principal of the Year, The Seventy Four

Last fall, Kim Jackson, principal of Seaton Elementary School in D.C., was named D.C.’s Principal of the Year by the chancellor of D.C. public schools. This article follows Jackson throughout a typical busy workday. A Washington-area native, Jackson came to Seaton in 2012 from a school in New Jersey. Seaton serves 320 diverse preK–5 students, with 90 percent qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch. The article highlights her school’s efforts to win a healthy school award in addition to her work with special education students.

About the Author

Sophie Papavizas is the Advocacy Coordinator at NASSP.

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