Advocacy Update

Implementing ESSA Updates

NASSP has joined with other national education organizations to form the State and Local ESSA Implementation Network, which recently sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Education John King urging a timely, fair transition to ESSA and a collaborative process that brings all parties to the table.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

President Obama submitted his FY17 budget request to Congress last Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Education hosted a briefing that day to go over the education portions of the bill; NASSP’s David Chodak was in attendance. This is Obama’s last budget request of his term, and Congress has already stated that they will break from the norm and not be holding hearings on the request. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 locked in budget caps for the year, but the particular distribution of funds to various agencies and programs might turn particularly dicey this election year.

President Obama also formally nominated John King to the role of secretary of education. The next step is the congressional confirmation process.

Why should principals care?

The president’s budget request was full of wins for principals, including an increase to $30 million for the School Leader Recruitment and Support program, which helps school districts develop preparation and support programs for principals. Other programs, such as Teacher and Principal Pathways, also saw increases. You can read more about NASSP’s response to the president’s budget in another recent School of Thought blog post.

In the Press

A New Wave of School Integration: Districts and Charters Pursuing Socioeconomic Diversity, The Century Foundation

This report highlights the work of 91 school districts and charter networks that are using socioeconomic status as a factor in student assignment. Research has shown that students attending integrated schools rather than racially isolated, high-poverty schools experience academic, cognitive, and social benefits to their attendance. We also know that schools are more racially segregated today than they were in the 1970s. Among other issues, the report researchers discussed the benefits of integration and some of the policy methods schools have employed for achieving integration.

How School Suspensions Push Black Students Behind, The Atlantic

A recent study concluded that the differences in the suspension rates for black students compared to white students could be a key reason so many black children fall behind their white peers. Researchers found that school suspensions account for roughly one-fifth of the white-black achievement gap. Nationwide, black students are suspended at three times the rate of their white counterparts. Research data on the effects of high school suspensions are small, but other studies have found that a school with a high rate of suspensions can have negative effects on all students, not just the students who are suspended. Additionally, other research has shown that income and family structure can only partially account for the achievement gap between black and white students, which has led to research into what other factors could be at play.

Arne Duncan Grades Himself—and Sees Failures on Pre-K, Safety, Desegregation, The Seventy Four

In an exit interview with The Seventy Four, Arne Duncan reflected on his three self-proclaimed disappointments: failure to further expand preschool, offer financial aid to undocumented students, and clamp down on gun violence. He connected them all to an unwillingness to see children as assets and invest in their potential. He also mentioned that as a country we can and should do more to desegregate schools, and cited his hope that his successor, John King, would take up the issue in his short tenure.

Teaching Higher: Educators’ Perspectives on Common Core Implementation, Harvard University

The Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University surveyed a representative sample of teachers and principals in five states about Common Core implementation in their schools, including professional development and changes they have made to instruction. The results are divided into three groupings: principals, teachers, and system leaders. Researchers found that more than two-thirds of principals (69 percent) believe that the new standards will lead to improved student learning. They also found that principals have experienced little resistance to Common Core: Only 9 percent reported “quite a bit” or “a tremendous amount,” but 66 percent did say they had to put time into engaging parents to build support for Common Core.

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