The implementation of ESSA has provided educators with a special opportunity to influence education policy. That is why it is important that school leaders make sure this opportunity isn’t squandered. To help ensure that these school leaders have all the information they need to effectively influence officials, NASSP recently introduced its ESSA Toolkit. This toolkit provides principals with crucial information and tips to help in pushing legislators to effectively implement ESSA. It is now more important than ever to advocate, and this toolkit can help you do that by helping you:
- Engage in direct discussions with your district about the recruitment, professional development, quality, and access of all students to effective teachers and school leaders.
- Collaborate and work with other principals in your state and district to influence your states’ plan for using federal funds to better support students, schools, and principals.
- Draft legislation and policies for your state that highlight the importance of school leaders through the toolkit’s model legislation tool.
- Effectively utilize the power of your message through regular and social media channels with the Communication Kit.
If you don’t make your voice heard to your state and federal representatives, you can be rest assured that other groups will. Make sure that you advocate ensuring you’re helping students, schools, and principals.
This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues
In one of the most unexpected outcomes in presidential election history, Donald Trump emerged victoriously. He was able to break Hillary Clinton’s “firewall” in the Midwest by winning Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He was also able to carry the battleground states of Ohio and Florida to help him secure the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.
Those working in education are now left to wonder what the future Trump Administration’s education goals will be. While Trump did not go into vivid detail on how he feels about certain education policies, he did provide some information on how the future may look. He is a vocal supporter of school choice, and mentioned in his first 100 days that he plans to establish a new school choice bill to Congress. He also stated that this bill would also end Common Core. However, these are standards that states choose voluntarily, so he may not have the complete ability to eliminate them.
Trump has also mentioned his disdain for the Department of Education during the campaign. He has come out saying he will either eliminate the department as a whole, or scale back its powers greatly. As of right now, the rest of his policies are somewhat up in the air. A telling signal of how the Trump administration will handle education policy will be when Trump names his secretary of education. A number of names have been thrown out lately as being in consideration for the job, including Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who served as Florida education commissioner. Other possible names include Betsy DeVos and Kevin Chavous, both with the American Federation for Children. The American Federation for Children is an advocacy organization that works to support school choice, and has been advising Trump on K–12 policy.
One thing is certain for future president Trump, and that is that he will have a Republican Congress to help support him for at least the next two years. Republicans retained control of the Senate, 51-48, and the House of Representatives, 239-192. Congress will be holding elections this week to determine leadership positions, chairmanships and breakdowns of House and Senate Committees. NASSP will continue to monitor this situation as it develops, so stay tuned to future Advocacy Updates for more information.
Teacher Preparation Programs
On October 12, ED released its final regulations on teacher preparation programs. ED states that these new regulations “help ensure that new teachers are ready to succeed in the classroom and that every student is taught by a great educator.” However, the regulations have proven to be controversial as many teachers’ unions are opposing them. The most contentious provision in the regulation is that student learning outcomes and at least one state-determined measure relevant to student outcomes, including academic performance, must be measured to gauge a program’s effectiveness. Many are arguing that it is unfair to judge teacher preparation programs based on the performance of the students taught by a program’s graduates. NASSP also recently signed a letter to ED voicing some concerns that these regulations could create teacher shortages in areas where the student populations are already struggling, such as those with a low-income population. You can find the full text of the regulation here.
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One of the highlights of National Principals Month was the Capitol Hill event titled Revolutionizing School Leadership Under ESSA. The event was co-hosted by NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA). The widely attended event allowed congressional staff the opportunity to hear directly from teachers and principals from all levels of K-12 education about how ESSA should be implemented to best support students, teachers, and principals. To watch a recording of the event, please visit the National Principals Month website.
Looking Back on National Principals Month
NASSP wants to thank all its members for helping to make October the most successful National Principals Month yet. Although the official National Principals Month is now over, rest assured that everyone will still have access to all of the great materials that were created or occurred during it. The website is still active and will continue to be so that everyone can still examine the 30 state and local resolutions that were passed, the recording of the Capitol Hill event, a variety of webinars and many other important resources. With budget talks reigniting in Washington, D.C. it is extremely important for school leaders to have their voices heard, so please continue to utilize these resources to make your representatives listen!
As members return to Washington, D.C. from their congressional races, there is just one thing on their mind as we move towards December. Passing legislation that funds the government and prevents a shutdown. Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) in September that funded the government through December 9. With December 9 quickly approaching, though, budget talks between members have already begun.
Make sure that your voice is heard during these talks so your representatives know you’re watching their votes. NASSP currently has two Action Alerts that will allow you to quickly and easily reach out to your members of congress. Both alerts focus on areas of ESSA that provide funds that can be extremely beneficial for students and school leaders. Make your voice heard and let Congress know that you support a well-rounded education for all students, safe schools, and more funding to aid in the professional development of school leaders.
National Principal of the Year
On October 17, NASSP announced that Dr. Thomas J. Dodd of Lesher Middle School is the 2017 National Principal of the Year. Dodd has served at Lesher Middle School for 11 years. Upon becoming principal at Lesher Middle School, Dodd personalized the school’s environment by instituting student and staff recognition, while also promoting student participation in academic contests. His hard work and determination has led to Lesher Middle School increasing enrollment from 500 to 770 students, the maximum capacity of the school. NASSP congratulates Dodd on representing all of the qualities that NASSP and principals everywhere stand for. You can learn more about the NASSP Principal of the year program here.
2017 National Principals Conference
In July 2017, NASSP and NAESP will be cohosting the National Principals Conference in Philadelphia, PA. This will be the first ever National Principals Conference that will be jointly hosted by both NASSP and the NAESP, and it grants all principals a chance to come together with their peers to not only gain a better understanding of the problems other school leaders encounter but to work with them on inventive solutions that can benefit students of all ages. This unique opportunity is truly an event unlike any other for principals.
Registration to attend the National Principals Conference is now open. Also, there is still room available for those looking to sponsor or exhibit at the conference as well. For more information on exhibiting or sponsoring the conference, please visit our online guide.
In this Month’s Principal Leadership
This month’s issue of Principal Leadership features an article by David Chodak, associate director of Advocacy, on how the November election may shape future education policy. It includes a breakdown of the republican and democrat party platforms on education, as well as an inside look at some potential names who could be the next secretary of education.
All FGN members are invited to write a guest article for Principal Leadership or blog post for School of Thought—just email Manager of Advocacy Zachary Scott with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.
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