Advocacy Update

Take Action on ESEA

Congress is still on recess, but NASSP is working hard to ensure principals have a voice in ESEA reauthorization. Working with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators, NASSP sent a detailed letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill outlining our concerns and priorities going forward with the ESEA conference report. Lend your voice to the cause today by sending an email to your senators and representatives through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center!

Inside the Beltway

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more than $16.2 million in grants to improve school leadership in the nation’s lowest performing schools through the Turnaround School Leaders Program. Grants are used to build systems at the district level to provide training to new and current school leaders to prepare them to lead turnaround efforts in schools that have received School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds.

ED also released a fact sheet outlining the consequences for preschool education should funding proposals being considered by Congress pass later this year. Both the House and Senate FY 2016 appropriations bills eliminate the Preschool Development Grants, a program that aims to expand preschool in 200 high-need communities in 18 states, jeopardizing access to high-quality preschool for 100,000 children. The fact sheet also includes full charts of state-by-state impact.

In the Press

GOP Presidential Hopefuls Tested on Education Issues at N.H. Forum, Washington Post

Six Republican presidential hopefuls sat down for 45-minute interviews at a forum in New Hampshire with former CNN reporter Campbell Brown to discuss their plans to improve America’s public schools. The candidates discussed common themes such as a smaller role for teachers’ unions and expansion of school choice through charter schools and private school vouchers. The event was sponsored by The Seventy Four, a non-profit, non-partisan organization covering education in America, which will hold a similar forum for Democratic candidates in October.

The 2015 EdNext Poll on School Reform, Education Next

In their annual poll on school reform, Education Next polls the American public on education issues and breaks out opinions by the general public, parents, and teachers. The poll found support for annual testing amongst all groups but a growing opposition to the Common Core compared to poll data from 2013 and 2014. They also found a small decline in support for charter schools, tax credits, merit pay, and ending teacher tenure.

Who’s Out, U.S. News and World Report

The New York Department of Education released an official report on the 20 percent of students in New York state who opted out of standardized tests this year. Official data shows that the students were more likely to be white, less likely to be from a high-need district, and slightly more likely to have scored at the lowest performance levels in 2014. They were also less likely to be economically disadvantaged and less likely to be an English Language Learner.

The Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, The New Teacher Project

A report released by the New Teacher Project this month examined teacher professional development by closely studying three large school districts and one charter school network over a period of two years. They found that districts are investing large amounts of money—about $18,000 per teacher—with no evidence that teachers are improving their practice or that any specific professional development initiative was more effective. The report challenges school districts to look critically at their own professional development plans and ask different questions about what they are doing to help teachers improve.

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