Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On August 1, thousands of organizations and individuals submitted comments for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the U.S. Department of Education on the proposed regulations for Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). NASSP coordinated with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and 57 of our state affiliates to submit joint comments on behalf of the nation’s preK–12 elementary, middle level, and high school principals.

Our comments focused specifically on the accountability indicators, consolidated planning, and supporting effective educators, in addition to other issues. NASSP also joined The Wallace Foundation, The School Superintendents Association, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and several other organizations for joint comments on the flexibility of ESSA funds to strengthen principals and other school leaders.

Why should principals care?

The draft Title I regulations set parameters for states in developing their new accountability systems, which replace the No Child Left Behind era of “adequate yearly progress” and will be fully implemented during the 2017–18 school year. In our comments, we expressed opposition to the proposal that states require a summative rating for all schools and encouraged the Department to provide guidance to states on how to factor student growth into the accountability system. We also urged for a flexible implementation timeline that will allow states to consult with principals and other education stakeholders in the development of their state’s plans. It seems unlikely that Congress will consider another reauthorization of the law in the next decade, so we must be sure that we put in place accountability systems that will truly help schools to succeed.

In the Press

Principals Clamor for Inclusion in States’ ESSA Planning, Education Week

As states begin to plan for the implementation of ESSA, they are soliciting feedback from principals, parents, and other education stakeholders as Congress moves through the consultative process. However, the degree to which principals have been involved in this process drastically varies from state to state.

The New Era of Education Accountability, U.S. News & World Report

States are shifting away from the one-size-fits-all accountability system mandated under No Child Left Behind to a new build-it-yourself model under ESSA.

Supreme Court Blocks Transgender Victory on Bathrooms, USA Today

On August 3, the Supreme Court blocked a federal appeals court ruling in a 5–3 decision against the Gloucester County School Board regarding a transgender student’s bathroom use while it considers whether or not to hear the case.

State Policy Statements to Enhance Educator Preparation, AACTE

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education developed state policy statements to enhance educator preparation with a focus on respecting educators as professionals, strengthening the educator pipeline, and improving data systems.

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