FGN News – November 2015

National Principals Month (#ThankAPrincipal) has come to a close, but the last week was an eventful one with Department of Education officials shadowing NASSP members at their schools both in the local D.C. area and across the country. Check out this blog post by fellow Federal Grassroots Network member Shawn DeRose about his experience. You can also check out #PrincipalsatED on Twitter to see tweets and photos from the Department of Education’s debrief event following the shadowing visits.

As an FGN member you are encouraged to invite your representatives to shadow you for a day! You could ask your representative, your senator, or a local representative like a school board member. Contact Advocacy Coordinator Sophie Papavizas at papavizass@nassp.org for assistance in arranging a shadow visit.

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Budget and Appropriations

On September 30, President Obama signed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open through December 11. While the CR was a better outcome than a government shutdown, this temporary deal locked in FY 2016 budget caps and reduced funding for the Department of Education programs by $141.5 million. Shortly before midnight on October 27, the White House in conjunction with House and Senate leadership announced a bipartisan two-year budget deal that would lift sequester caps for defense and non-defense discretionary programs. (Education falls under the non-defense discretionary category.) Specifically, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would increase non-defense discretionary spending by $25 billion in 2016 and by $15 billion for 2017. As discussed in a recent post on NASSP’s School of Thought blog, the Bipartisan Budget Act passed the House and the Senate and Obama has signed the bill into law. The next step in the process is for the appropriations committees to negotiate an omnibus bill where the funding for individual education programs will be discussed.

Speakership

The House of Representatives has elected Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as the body’s 62nd speaker to replace outgoing Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). Boehner announced he would be leaving his House seat and the Speakership in late September but the House was left in limbo when House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stepped out of the race following pressure from the conservative House Freedom Caucus. House republicans then considered a number of candidates before Rep. Ryan agreed to run for the nomination.

ESEA

With a new speaker in place and a budget agreement on the table, some stability has arrived in Congress, making lawmakers hopeful that we might see some action on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization. The House- and Senate-passed versions of ESEA still need to be reconciled to produce a final authorization bill either this year or in early 2016. NASSP continues to advocate for the interests and priorities of principals. To review NASSP’s advocacy priorities in ESEA, you can read ourletters to education leaders on Capitol Hill that reinforce key positions.

Twitter Talk

ArneDuncanTwitterName Thanks to 70 principals for letting our team shadow you, your hard work and commitment to your students inspires us!
AmandaTwitterName #AKPrincipals throw an amazing conference! I’ll admit to crying twice and leaving inspired to fight on your behalf back in DC!!
DavidTwitterName Collaboration between principals and @NationalPTA can have a positive impact on school culture: bit.ly/1RMznZ2#ThankAPrincipal

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

Collaborations

Working with nine other leading education organizations, NASSP has released a weeklong digital ad campaign targeting congressional members and staff, as well as Washington D.C. influencers with the powerful yet simple message that is it time for Congress to get ESEA reauthorization done.

Take Action

Thank you to the 354 NASSP members who have taken action to urge their senators and representatives to support a full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. So far, Texas is in the lead with 72 members participating, followed closely by Pennsylvania with 70 members participating.

As members of the Federal Grassroots Network, it is critical for you to lend your voice to advocating on behalf of the profession by sending an email to your senators and representatives through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center-the time to act is now!

In this Month’s Principal Leadership

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NASSP Director of Public Affairs Bob Farrace authors the November Advocacy Agenda column, which explores Twitter as the “killer app” for grassroots advocacy and reaching members of Congress on social media. Read the magazine online now.

Advocacy Updates on School of Thought

Visit NASSP’s School of Thought blog for weekly advocacy blog posts and the latest education legislation news. All FGN members are invited to write a guest blog post forSchool of Thought-just email advocacy coordinator Sophie Papavizas with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.