The U.S. Census Bureau will begin its count on April 1, 2020, and principals are vital to its success. Conducted every 10 years, the census seeks to accurately record the population throughout the country, and more than 1 million young children were missed in 2010. More than a typical tally, the results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year, as well as how many seats in Congress each state and your local school board boundaries are awarded. Of course, some of that federal funding is funneled directly into schools—and principals can be highly effective influencers when it comes to census participation.

According to recent survey findings from the Pew Research Center, “Americans have varying levels of confidence in key aspects of job performance by those who hold important positions of power and responsibility.” While majorities believe that members of Congress and local elected officials take responsibility for their mistakes only a little or none of the time, confidence in K–12 public school principals is much higher. In fact, the public has “the most confidence in the way K–12 public school principals, military leaders, and police officers operate when it comes to caring about people, providing fair and accurate information to the public and handling resources responsibly.” So, what does this mean for our educators?

Using Your Influence

As trusted leaders in your communities, you have the unique ability to highlight the importance of census participation among your staff, stakeholders, and even the parents of your students. After all, the census affects school funding as it relates to special education programs, free and reduced-price lunch, class size reduction, classroom technology, teacher and principal professional development through Title II funds, as well as Head Start and after-school programs. Without accurate data—and community buy-in to get that data right—your programs may not get the funding they need to properly serve the students who rely on them.

To support you with further information and resources that can help you encourage participation in your community, NASSP has joined forces with Statistics in Schools (SIS), a U.S. Census Bureau program that uses census statistics to create classroom materials for grades preK–12. In anticipation of the upcoming census count, SIS has created tools specifically for the 2019–20 school year, including:

  • Up to 67 activities that have students use data to build skills in history, math, geography, and English
  • Large, colorful maps with census-based facts, including state-by-state comparisons
  • Resources for English-language learners and adult English as a second language students

Get the resources you need to get started here.

Putting the Census in Context

NASSP will also host “The Census in Context: What You Need to Know for 2020,” a free online event that will help demystify the formulas of the census and break down how the data will help distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds annually. Taking place on March 5 at 8:00 p.m. (ET)—conveniently after school hours—the event is the first of its kind for NASSP and will feature the 2013 Principal of the Year and a census expert in a panel discussion format. Speakers include:

  • Zach Scott, senior manager, Federal Engagement & Outreach, NASSP (moderator)
  • Jocelyn Bissonette, director, Funders Census Initiative, Funders; Committee for Civic Participation
  • Trevor Greene, superintendent, Yakima School District

Participants will also get the chance to network during a discussion break, allowing them to expand their support group and connect with peers.

The census will begin in less than two months—will you be ready? Sign up for our free virtual event today and find out how you can shape the future of your students, school, and community.

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