National Principals Month (NPM), celebrated annually throughout the month of October, highlights the hard work of principals across the country and all they do to support their educational communities. This year, the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) are taking that initiative a step further—calling attention to pressing issues facing the principalship and what policymakers can do to support principals and educators.
The Growing Problem
One of the biggest issues in education is increasing turnover and shortages among teachers and principals. Nearly 1 in 5 principals leave the profession every year, and those numbers continue to increase as school conditions become more challenging. The Institute for Education Statistics reports that school leaders who retire, transfer schools, or pursue new opportunities within the education sector are not being replaced by enough qualified candidates, resulting in vacancies. It is predicted that demand for elementary, middle level, and high school principals will grow 6 percent nationwide by the year 2022 due to population increases.
The Preparing and Retaining Education Professionals (PREP) Act, S.752, aims to help empower principals and keep them in their roles. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), would help address teacher and principal shortages with a specific focus on rural communities—and help ensure that students have access to educators who have the skills and tools to prepare them for postsecondary success.
What You Can Do
You can get involved and make your voice heard! Congress is currently engaged in a major overhaul of the Higher Education Act (HEA). As they proceed with HEA reauthorization, it’s vital that they incorporate measures to address principal shortages and support underserved schools. You can help make a difference sending an email and/or tweet to your members of Congress today. Urge your representatives and senators to support the PREP Act and include its key provisions in any HEA reauthorization proposal!
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With all that principals do to support their schools, students, and communities, it’s time to advocate for ways to support school leaders in return. #ThankAPrincipal today by contacting your members of Congress using the action alert.