Advocacy Update

Apply for the CTE Makeover Challenge

Your high school could be eligible for $20,000 in cash and additional in-kind prizes to start a makerspace in your building! The U.S. Department of Education invites schools to enter the CTE Makeover Challenge by submitting a design for a CTE makerspace. All schools will gain access to a six-week CTE Makeover Bootcamp that will provide resources and training in makerspace design and planning. Up to 10 schools will receive the $20,000 cash prize. You can view the notice in the Federal Register here.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The Senate HELP Committee voted 16–6 in favor of nominating U.S. Department of Education Acting Secretary of Education John King Jr. for the position of Secretary of Education, a role he has filled in the “acting” capacity since January when Arne Duncan stepped down. The Senate plans to vote to confirm the nomination on Monday. King appeared before the Senate appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies last Thursday to discuss the Department’s FY17 budget request.

Why should principals care?

The Senators of the subcommittee pushed the Acting Secretary primarily on higher education issues, such as student loan servicers and campus sexual assault, but opening statements did bring mentions of the comprehensive literacy program, a program that NASSP has championed, by Sen. Patty Murray, and programs supporting the educator pipeline, such as the Teacher and Principals Pathways program, which was mentioned by Acting Secretary King.

In the Press

Beyond Ratings: Re-envisioning State Teacher Evaluation Systems as Tools for Professional Growth, New America

New America’s education policy team set out to change teacher evaluation systems from punitive and single-dimensional measures to tools for professional growth in this comprehensive report discussing why policies must change and how several states have already started doing so. Of particular concern in the report is the vast number of teachers who fall in the middle range of state’s rating scales, and changing evaluation systems so that those teachers get in-depth feedback and tools to improve their teaching practice. There is also a focus on how to reduce the burden on school principals and to redesign their roles in the evaluation process to be more productive and less punitive.

Constitutional Obligations for Public Education: 50-State Review, Education Commission of the States

In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the Supreme Court ruled that there is no fundamental right to education in the Constitution of the United States, and because of this, the burden for providing public education falls to the states. However, every state has its own constitutional language covering public education, creating sweeping consequences for the policy and laws of those states. This review of state constitutions pulls out key language regarding education and discusses the impact on policy and education law for each state.

Moving From Compliance to Agency: What Teachers Need to Make Professional Learning Work, National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future

This report looks at how changes to professional development approaches and structures can increase teacher agency and make professional learning more effective. Acknowledged in the report is the important role of principals in teachers’ professional development. Teachers interviewed in the report said principals, especially those who did not have good professional development, need support in becoming good instructional leaders. Creating time for professional development was also discussed as a principal responsibility.

61 Million Immigrants and Their Young Children Now Live in the United States, Center for Immigration Studies

New analysis of government data from the Center for Immigration Studies indicates that there are now more than 61 million immigrants with American-born children under age 18 living in the United States. Three-fourths of them are documented. Immigrants and their minor children account for almost one in five U.S. residents, up from 1970 when immigrants accounted for one in 15 U.S. residents. Some states, such as Georgia and Arkansas, have seen particularly fast increases in the number of immigrants.

Giving Up on High School: How Income Inequality Affects Dropout Rates for America’s Poorest Students, The Brookings Institution

New research suggests that low-income youth, particularly young men who live in areas of high income inequality, may see a middle-class life as out of reach and subsequently have less incentive to stay in school. Data from the full paper show that controlling for other factors like family structure, low-income boys in higher-inequality areas have a higher chance of dropping out of school than low-income boys in lower-inequality areas. They also found states with greater inequality have higher dropout rates.

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