Inside the Beltway
What is going on in Washington?
Acting Secretary of Education John King was called to Capitol Hill three times this past week for hearings on the U.S. Department of Education’s budget and also for his confirmation. Both Reps. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and Susan Davis (D-CA) mentioned principals during the proceedings. In the hearings, King discussed both the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Department of Education’s budget.
Why should principals care?
With both ESSA implementation and budget discussions heating up, now is the time to contact your representatives in Congress using the Principal’s Legislative Action Center. NASSP also has a PowerPoint presentation and other resources available on ESSA to help principals get quickly up to speed on this important policy.
In the Press
Improving University Principal Preparation Programs: Five Themes From the Field, The Wallace Foundation
This report provides insight into views on university-based training for aspiring school leaders. Some key conclusions were that both district leaders and universities believe that there is room for improvement in their principal preparation programs; that strong university-district partnerships are essential for quality; and that the current course of study for principals does not reflect their real jobs.
National Benchmarks for State Achievement Standards, American Institutes for Research
With the implementation of ESSA, states have new decisions to make about what tests to use. In this report on state achievement standards, researchers sought to benchmark the achievement standards tests in the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced, PARCC, and ACT Aspire tests, as compared to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). They found the Smarter Balanced standards to be comparable to the NAEP Basic levels and the PARCC standards to be below Smarter Balanced; they also found the ACT Aspire college-ready standards to be comparable to the NAEP Basic standards.
Teacher Perceptions and Race, Brookings
New research looking at teacher evaluations of student behavior and then data on school suspensions suggest that black teachers have much less negative views of black student behavior than white teachers; furthermore, most of this difference is found in perceptions of black male students. The differences between white and black female students were minimal. They also found that perceptions of behavior didn’t change much for white students with a different race teacher and that the effects didn’t carry year-to-year.
Cognitive Fatigue Influences Students’ Performance on Standardized Tests, National Academy of Sciences
In this study, researchers examined the test data of all Danish school children and found that average performance on tests decreases as the school day goes on. Danish children take computer-based tests, and the availability of computers affected when a child would take a particular test, a problem that U.S. schools are also starting to experience as computer-based testing becomes more common. Researchers suggest that school leaders and policymakers take cognitive fatigue into account when planning the length of the school day, and that they design accountability systems to accommodate external factors.