Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Center for American Progress Event Features NASSP Member

Richard Loeschner, an NASSP member and principal of Breakthrough School Brentwood High School in Brentwood, NY, was featured last week at a Center for American Progress event on “Harnessing the Talent of DACA and Unauthorized Students at the K–12 Level.” The event focused on the patchwork of policies and practices that unauthorized students face in K–12 schools and the varying levels of support they receive from schools that might not recognize their unique challenges. Mr. Loeschner’s school has found particular success in raising the achievement of immigrant students and was featured on the event’s panel discussion. A recording of the event can now be viewed online. NASSP’s Associate Director of Advocacy David Chodak was also in attendance.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to make the changes necessary to modernize and reform the Lifeline program to help low-income consumers afford broadband Internet access in their homes. The Lifeline program began in 1985 and focused on telephone service, but today, Internet access is a necessity for American families to access needed services and to find employment. As part of the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC), NASSP submitted a letter to the FCC asking for modernization of the Lifeline program.

Why should principals care?

Education groups and libraries recognize the need for Americans, and particularly students, to have Internet access in their homes to complete job searches, to access information and services, and to complete homework assignments. Low-income students’ lack of access to high-speed Internet is often referred to as the “homework gap.” NASSP has written previously about this topic here on the School of Thought blog.

In the Press

Latinos and Literacy: Hispanic Students’ Progress in Reading, Child Trends

A recent national study looking at the reading scores of fourth- and eighth- grade Hispanic students found that, across the nation, scores have risen roughly half a grade level. They found this was true across country-of-origin subgroups (i.e., Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans, Puerto Ricans, and other Hispanics/Latinos). They also found that large cities across the U.S. that serve a large percentage of low-income Hispanic students, such as Boston and Chicago, were keeping pace with the national growth.

Increasing Targeting, Flexibility, and Transparency in Title I of the ESEA, The Hamilton Project

This new policy proposal from The Hamilton Project, a research group focused on economic growth, offers ideas on how to improve the Title I program of ESEA. The newest iteration of ESEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, focuses on accountability and testing but makes few changes to the Title I program. The proposal focuses on reform of the Title I formula to ensure that the neediest areas get enough assistance as well as improvements to federal guidance and fiscal compliance so that local districts understand the flexibility available to them and are able to spend effectively.

Department of Education Releases Resources on Improving School Climate, U.S. Department of Education

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Education released new tools, the first of their kind, for schools to evaluate and improve school climate. The tools include a set of reliable nationally validated school climate surveys and a quick guide on making school climate improvements. ESEA allows for states to incorporate school climate surveys or other nonacademic indicators in their school accountability model. The Department hopes that school climate surveys will help schools focus on creating safe and supportive learning environments for all students.

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