FGN News: July 2016

In June, NASSP welcomed more than 90 middle and high school principals from across the country to the first-ever NASSP Advocacy Conference. The principals visited Capitol Hill where they conducted more than 160 meetings with their members of Congress to discuss ESSA implementation and advocate in support of increased funding for education in FY 2017, loan forgiveness for principals, and NASSP’s policy recommendations on career and technical education.

Any member of the Federal Grassroots Network (FGN) is invited to attend the NASSP Advocacy Conference, so mark your calendars for next year’s conference, April 24–26, 2017!

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

ESSA Implementation

On August 1, NASSP coordinated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and 58 of our state affiliates to submit joint comments to the U.S. Department of Education in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the draft regulations for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act on behalf of the nation’s preK–12 elementary, middle level, and high school principals.

In our comments, we express opposition to the proposal that states require a summative rating for all schools, and encourage the Department to provide guidance to states on how to factor student growth into the accountability system. We also urge for a flexible implementation timeline that will allow states to consult with principals and other education stakeholders in the development of their state plans. Our letter also asks the Department to provide guidance to states on the definitions of “inexperienced principal” and “school leader.”

Education Appropriations

On July 14, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) marked up their FY 2017 appropriations bill, which passed 31–19 with the votes splitting along party lines. The Senate approved their version of the LHHS in June by a vote of 29–1. The House bill contains a number of divisive policy riders related to the gainful employment rule, the forthcoming teacher preparation rules, and the federal definition of a credit hour.

The House bill provides $15.36 billion for Title I, $1.95 billion for Title II, and $1 billion for the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment block grant in Title IV. Comparatively, the Senate bill provides $15.4 billion for Title I, $2.05 billion for Title II, and $300 million for Title IV. A full chart of the House and Senate allocations can be viewed here. When Congress returns from summer recess in September, House and Senate leaders will try to negotiate an omnibus, though a short-term continuing resolution is more likely.

Perkins Career and Technical Education

The House Education and the Workforce Committee approved a bipartisan bill in July to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which has long been overdue for reauthorization. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587) was introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and enjoys the support of eight Republican cosponsors and seven Democratic cosponsors.

There has been no official word on whether the Senate will take action on Perkins this year, but Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) have been vocal on the critical need to update Perkins. You can read more about the committee markup in a recent School of Thought blog post by Amanda Karhuse, NASSP’s director of advocacy. Stay tuned for more updates as this legislation moves through the legislative process.

Twitter Talk

@akarhuse The average HS graduation rate for #CTE students is 93% – Rep. @MarkTakano
@dnchodak Thanks @SenShelby for a great meeting w/Morgan Carter & AL secondary principal assoc. leaders. #nasspdc @NASSP
@NASSP “Research shows that effective leaders in a school building makes such a big difference.” – @PatrickSandos #NASSPdc

For more advocacy tweets, join us on social media by following NASSP and the advocacy staff on Twitter:

Collaborations

As a member of the Learning First Alliance (LFA), NASSP provided feedback on the recently published Principles on Stakeholder Engagement as Required in ESSA. LFA is a coalition of the nation’s leading education organizations. The document outlines the actions and processes that state leaders should be following to ensure that the expertise of principals, teachers, parents, and other education stakeholders inform the development of state and local policies and practices.

Advocacy Updates on School of Thought

On the blog recently is a post by William Parker, the NASSP state coordinator for Oklahoma and an avid blogger on his own site, discussing his experience at the NASSP Advocacy Conference Hill Day. Mr. Parker highlights the legislation principals discussed with their members of Congress, as well as his own work to help his students be advocates for legislation that affects them. He closes with what all principals can do to be advocates. Thank you, Mr. Parker, for sharing your experience with us and for all you do to advocate for principals and the schools they serve!

All FGN members are invited to write a guest blog post for School of Thought—just email Director of Advocacy Amanda Karhuse with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.