Reston, VA – The National Association of Secondary School Principals issued the following statement in response to the 48th Annual Phi Delta Kappa International Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools:

Americans sent a clear message that they want their public schools to deliver far more than successful test takers. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to correct the course under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which provides states and districts far more flexibility than its predecessor. But that flexibility must also be represented in the federal government’s funding commitment, specifically by funding Title IV block grants at a level no lower than the authorized $1.65 billion.

In another rebuke of No Child Left Behind’s reform policies, the American public expressed its clear support for improving local public schools rather than closing them when their performance in unsatisfactory. Yet that improvement must extend to building the skills of the current leadership to create the conditions for their success. ESSA recognizes the importance of leadership by encouraging states to set aside up to 3% of Title II funds specifically for principal development, and states will more likely adopt that flexibility if Title II is funded at its fully authorized level of $2.295 billion.

Fundamentally, public education cannot be universally successful if we continue to speak of what it does to students rather than how it creates the conditions for empowered students to construct their own knowledge and skills. With only 1 in 3 high school students describing themselves as engaged in their education (2015 Gallup Student Poll), it’s clear we have a long way to go. Yet models such as Power Hour at the high school of NASSP President Jayne Ellspermann and the Student Edcamp led by NASSP Digital Principal Glenn Robbins reveal a great deal of promise for students to build the future they will eventually lead.

For nearly a century, NASSP has provided a platform for students to amplify their voices and take an active role in the life of the school though National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, and the National Association of Student Councils. Over the next two years, students in these programs will lead a nationwide initiative to promote global citizenship. What is important in this context is that the initiative is completely student-focused and student-led. And through their participation, students will develop the skills to become the deep thinkers, innovative workers, and conscientious citizens we know they can be.


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States and 35 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high-quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils.