While principals were making their way to the Ignite ’16 conference last week, Acting Secretary of Education John King was busy on Capitol Hill giving testimony at two House Education and the Workforce committee hearings, and also answering questions about his qualifications at his own nomination hearing with the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Acting Secretary King is a former principal himself, and principals received a few mentions from both Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA) and Frederica Wilson (D-FL). Details about the hearings and links to view them can be found at the bottom of this blog post.
The House committee hosted two hearings: The first focused on the president’s budget request for the U.S. Department of Education, and the second focused on the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). At the first hearing, Acting Secretary King opened with his priorities for the Department and for its budget, including a focus on equity and civil rights, and on meaningful engagement with education stakeholders, especially teachers. Wilson, a former principal herself, started her questioning by acknowledging their common background and stating that she knew King was immensely qualified for the position of secretary because he had been a principal.
On Thursday, King was again before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to discuss ESSA implementation. This time, Davis used her questioning time to ask King about the guidance from the Department on using Title II funding to implement professional development programs for both teachers and principals who make use of best practices. King mentioned that one of the priorities of the Department will be to give states more guidance on what some of the most successful programs have been in order to help them decide how to implement ESSA and where to allocate their funding.
NASSP is actively engaged with the Department of Education concerning Title II guidance. For details about NASSP’s advocacy and for the text of our letter to Department officials, see NASSP Associate Director of Advocacy David Chodak’s blog post, “NASSP Issues Feedback as ESSA Implementation Moves Forward.” Also stay tuned for a sample letter to send to your state education agency concerning the use of Title II funding for principal professional development.
“Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education,” House Committee on Education and the Workforce, February 24, 2016.
“Next Steps for K–12 Education: Upholding the Letter and Intent of the Every Student Succeeds Act,” House Committee on Education and the Workforce, February 25, 2016.
“Nomination of Dr. John King to Serve as Secretary of Education,” Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, February 25, 2016.