Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced on August 18 the three principals who will serve as Principal Ambassador Fellows during the 2016–17 school year. The Principal Ambassador Fellowship (PAF) program was launched in 2013 to highlight the voice of the principal within the education community and the country at large. We are thrilled that two of this year’s fellows are NASSP members: Jean-Paul Cadet from Oxon Hill, MD, who will serve full time at ED, and Monifa McKnight from Gaithersburg, MD, who was honored by NASSP as the 2015 Maryland Principal of the Year. The third fellow, Dana Leigh Nerenberg, is an elementary school principal in Portland, OR.

Why Should Principals Care?

The PAF program gives principals an opportunity to have their perspective included as federal officials develop policies aimed at fostering conditions that support school leaders. The program reflects a growing recognition of the importance of school leadership in achieving ambitious goals for our nation’s students. NASSP will work closely with the three principals as ED develops policies and guidance on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). We will also work with them on our initiatives to honor and recognize outstanding principals during National Principals Month and our National Principal of the Year festivities. NASSP issued a press release in cooperation with the American Federation of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and New Leaders congratulating the new fellows.

In the Press

More Comments on Proposed ESSA Rules from Parents, Principals, Education Week

Education Week highlights public comments that were submitted by national education organizations in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the draft Title I regulations in ESSA. In particular, NASSP and NAESP expressed their concern about the single summative rating for schools and urged an emphasis on student growth in state accountability plans.

Principals Should Be Literacy Leaders in Their Schools, Education Dive

Steve Tozer, director of the Center for Urban Education Leadership at the University of Chicago, says that principals should play an important role in literacy leadership in their schools. But many principals face barriers, including a lack of content area expertise and the leadership skills to organize their buildings around consistent teacher improvement. The article notes that in the coming months, Education Dive will run a series of profiles of school principals who have led literacy initiatives in their schools.

Making Whole-Child Education the Norm, Economic Policy Institute

A policy brief released by the Economic Policy Institute focuses on a set of “noncognitive” skills, including critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, persistence, and self-control, that can and should be taught in schools. The brief explains why it is so important to incorporate these skills into the goals and components of public education, and lays out the steps necessary to make it happen.

Federal Transgender Bathroom Access Guidelines Blocked by Judge, The New York Times

A judge of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas has blocked the Obama administration from enforcing new guidelines issued in May that were intended to expand restroom access for transgender students. The ruling was in response to a case brought by officials from 11 states and independent school districts, which could be brought to the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision.

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