We’ve all experienced it: well-intentioned policy that looks good on paper but doesn’t make sense at the implementation level. It ultimately falls on principals to square the circle—to manage the policy compliance and the contradictions that more often distract from learning goals than contribute to them.
The contradictions emerge because local, state, and especially federal education policies are often created in isolation. Policymakers need to be intentional about policy coherence from the local to the federal level so they move us in a consensus direction that empowers principal innovation. That’s why the principal’s voice is so important at all levels.
Obviously, NASSP is a national organization, but we also take great pride in our close relationships with state-level organizations—through which NASSP identifies a state coordinator to manage federal outreach efforts and link them to state-level priorities. (Visit www.nassp.org/state-advocates to identify your coordinator.) The structures are in place, but policy coherence requires a strong voice at every level. Every principal—not some, not most—every principal must become part of the movement toward the systemic transformation of schools. To all of you NASSP members, please join your state association. And if you have colleagues who belong just to their state association, share this message with them and encourage them to join the ranks of NASSP.
As always, I want to thank you for all your work to keep students learning during these unsettled times. Your sharp focus on taking care of your teachers, your students, and your community speaks volumes to your commitment. But none of us can pour from an empty pitcher. So, for your own sake and for the sake of all who depend on you, please take some time for yourself.
Ronn K. Nozoe