NASSP Position Statements
The NASSP Board of Directors has stated its intent to adopt position statements on A-F School Grading Systems and Online Learning. Following a 30-day public comment period, the board will vote to approve the position statements at its next meeting in May. If you have any comments or suggestions, please submit them to Amanda Karhuse, director of advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, March 24.
Inside the Beltway
What’s going on in Washington?
On February 26, the U.S. Department of Education published “Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Frequently Asked Questions.” The FAQ is mostly designed for states but will be helpful for advocates as they approach their state and local leaders with specific requests. The Department also announced the members of the negotiated rulemaking committee for Title I of ESSA. NASSP’s own 2016 National Principal of the Year, Alan Tenreiro, was selected for this honor to represent principals in the negotiation process.
Why should principals care?
Implementation of ESSA is rolling along, and now is the time to send a message to lawmakers that principals care about these policies. Keep following this blog for updates on ESSA, opportunities for webinars on ESSA, and sample letters for you to send to state and local lawmakers.
In the Press
Every Student Succeeds Act – State Updates, Education Reform Now
The Education Reform Now blog provides an update on where states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Utah, are in their implementation of ESSA. Drawing on local reports, we can get a glimpse of what state leaders are thinking as they begin to answer how the new law will be applied in their own states. Because states have so much leeway and varying starting points, we expect to see 50 different versions of implementation.
A new report from the New Teacher Center examines state policies on induction and school-year mentoring for new teachers, principals, and other educators. Regarding principals, the policies review found that induction programs are lacking, with only 20 states requiring some kind of support for first- time principals, and only six requiring support into the second year of service. Support was also lacking for new teachers, with 21 states requiring no support for first-year teachers.
ESSA requires at least one nonacademic measure in judging school performance, and some states are looking toward districts that have pioneered testing student socioemotional skills, like self-control and conscientiousness. However, some educators and policymakers are concerned about such measures because the skills’ definitions are unclear, and the tests have faults. Schools started emphasizing socioemotional skills after a study found that school programs with that emphasis could increase academic test scores by 11 percentage points.
The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools, The Atlantic
In almost all major American cities, most African-American and Hispanic students attend public schools that are overwhelmingly low-income, a new federal data analysis shows. This is particularly concerning because researchers have found that the single most powerful predictor of racial gaps in educational achievement is the extent to which students attend schools surrounded by other low-income students. Concentrated poverty and economic segregation are only increasing, and they threaten to undermine many school improvement efforts in urban areas.
While focusing mainly on teacher evaluations, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) also includes principals in their new document outlining best practices for support and evaluation systems in schools. In particular, CCSSO believes that principals’ evaluations should address their role in supporting and evaluating teachers. They also see professional development and support for school leaders who are responsible for evaluations as essential to providing both accurate evaluations and productive teacher feedback.