On January 21, NASSP, along with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), submitted comments to the Federal Register in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) request for information (RFI) on Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We requested that the Department issue regulations ensuring student growth measures are tied to state accountability systems; technical assistance for administering assessments and the timely delivery of results; guidance on measuring growth for English language learners; and technical assistance to identify effective measures to improve school quality.
In total, 369 comments were submitted from advocacy organizations, foundations, and various professionals throughout the education sector. Senior officials at ED will now work to sift through the comments to determine where to issue regulations, nonbinding guidance, and technical assistance to states and districts for the implementation of Title I.
On January 28, ED Senior Advisor Ann Whalen sent a letter to chief state school officers addressing pressing questions on the timeline and implementation of ESSA. This letter included information on the use of fiscal year 2016 formula funds, ensuring an orderly transition to the law in the 2016–17 school year, and providing school interventions and supports for states with and without ESEA flexibility waivers.
On January 29, representatives from NASSP and NAESP attended a follow-up meeting at ED to discuss the RFI, as well as specific questions pertaining to state plans, fiscal issues, assessments, educator equity, accountability, and data reporting in ESSA. During this meeting, ED officials explained that there would likely a formal RFI process for Title I of ESSA.
As a result of the limited RFI process for Title I, NASSP, NAESP, and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA) sent a joint letter to ED on February 18 requesting guidance and technical assistance upfront on several provisions within Title II of ESSA. Specifically, the letter requested that ED issue technical assistance and guidance for supporting, recruiting, and preparing principals; guidance to states, encouraging them to prioritize principal leadership activities with the three percent set aside for professional development; and guidance for the definitions of “school leader” and “experienced principal.”
On February 3, ED published a notice in the Federal Register stating the intent to form a committee to analyze, evaluate, and modify ED’s proposed regulations on assessments and the “supplement, not supplant” provisions in ESSA. ED is seeking nominations from state and local administrators; parents and students; teachers and school leaders; members of the business community; tribal leadership; charter school leaders; and civil rights activists by February 24. Nominations should be sent to: [email protected].
As the implementation of ESSA moves forward, ED will continue to provide information at www.ed.gov/essa. To keep school leaders informed, NASSP will be conducting a three-part webinar series on March 23, April 27, and May 12 on the most important provisions in ESSA and how principals should get involved. We will also continue to keep you updated here on the School of Thought blog.