NASSP Board of Directors and Fairfax, VA, School Board Take Positions on Transgender Policy

The NASSP Board of Directors has developed a position statement on transgender education policy, which includes these recommendations for principals and educators: 

  • Advocate for school district policies that include protections for transgender students if those policies are not currently in place.
  • Model and set expectations for students, staff, and parents about how to build a positive school culture where all students feel included and respected, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression.
  • Provide training to student leaders so they are able to communicate and model respect for the gender identity of all students.

For more information on the position statement, visit

In recent news on this topic, there was considerable controversy in Fairfax County, VA, when the school board voted to revise the student handbooks to “ban discrimination against transgender students.” There were heated arguments among stakeholders at the meeting. Principal Leadership will continue to cover transgender policy in education in upcoming issues.

Debate Over Essa Implementation Gets Heated

The state of California and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) appear to be directly at odds over what kind of rating systems to implement under ESSA to measure success in the state’s schools.

California is moving away from a single index, score, or number to rank schools and districts in favor of multiple measures.

However,  states “would be required to assign a ‘single rating’ to each of their schools” according to ED’s draft regulations, “even though the law itself does not call for it.”

Chronic Absenteeism: A Persistent Problem

According to the Department of Education’s civil rights data collection during the 2013–14 school year, more than 6.5 million students were chronically absent. “Even the best teachers can’t be successful with students who aren’t in class,” notes ED Secretary John King.

The data has renewed discussions on how to deal with the many reasons students miss school, including illness, family responsibilities, and the perception that school is unsafe.

The department is urging schools to embrace positive measures such as mentoring and offering emotional support to encourage students.

Minecraft: Microsoft’s Entrée into the Education Sector

Microsoft, apparently not wanting to cede interest in education to Facebook and seeking to optimize its purchase of the wildly popular game Minecraft, has been touting the software as a free download bonanza for educators.

The game now includes new features such as allowing teachers to give feedback, classroom collaboration tools, and a simpler setup process. Students can use Minecraft to “create their own games and story lines.” Beginning this month, the full version of Microsoft: Education Edition will be available for “an average of $1 to $5 per player each year.” Microsoft’s purchase price for Minecraft: $2.5 billion. Yes, that’s with a B.

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