Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

National Principals Month

National Principals Month is finally here! To better understand the role and responsibilities of principals, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is conducting its Principal Shadowing Week from October 24–27. Principal Shadowing Week allows senior staff at ED the chance to learn firsthand from NASSP members. If any members in the Maryland, Virginia, or D.C. area are interested in having an ED staffer shadow them, you can email Zach Scott for more information.

Shadowing opportunities should not just be limited to those representing ED; shadowing invitations should be extended to all congressional representatives. NASSP encourages all its members to contact their congressional representatives to set up shadowing visits. For more information on how to set these up, visit the National Principals Month webpage.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

On September 27, ED released new nonbinding guidance detailing how state and local education agencies should go about allocating the Title II, Part A funds granted to them in ESSA. Title II, Part A funds of ESSA are to be used to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality, and ESSA provides new opportunities for how those funds can be allocated.

Why Should Principals Care?

NASSP and a number of other organizations sent a letter to ED in February requesting guidance related to Title II, Part A funding in ESSA, hoping that more clarification will help states and districts determine the best and most effective ways to allocate funds that benefit principals. The guidance notes the importance of principals numerous times and states that “effective principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders are essential to school success.” The Department also encourages states to reserve an additional 3 percent of Title II funding for activities supporting principals or other school leaders. However, while the guidance does show some support for funding programs that support principals, it also opens the door for some of those funds to be distributed to other personnel as well. The guidance defines a school leader as someone “responsible for the daily instructional leadership and managerial operations in the elementary school or secondary school building.” Under ED’s interpretation, principal supervisors would also qualify as persons who could receive funding from the already low 3 percent that is set aside for principals. Also, the guidance indicates that a state may use up to 2 percent of the state’s Title II, Part A funds to establish or expand teacher, principal, or school leader preparation academies. Allowing these funds to only be used for academies limits funding opportunities in other areas that may better benefit principals, such as in professional development.

In the Press

Early College High Schools Change College Readiness, Education Commission of the States

A new policy analysis by the Education Commission of the States provides new information about early college high schools. These new types of schools, which are often aimed to benefit underserved students, are specifically designed to allow students to complete a high school diploma, as well as an associate degree, technical certification, or enough postsecondary credits to allow them to enter a four-year institution as a junior. The Policy Analysis helps to point out how this new school model differs from traditional dual enrollment programs, while also outlining key model policy components of early college high schools.

State Legislatures Tackle Student Data Privacy, Data Quality Campaign

Student data privacy has been a very popular topic for state legislatures in 2016 with 34 states introducing 112 bills addressing student data. Data Quality Campaign has compiled a report detailing trends in state legislature’s student data privacy bills in 2016, while also breaking down the past and potential future of student data privacy bills on the state level.

Educators Breakdown How to Get Students College and Career Ready, Learning First Alliance

Earlier this year, the Learning First Alliance, of which NASSP is a member, held a think tank with a number of educators to help determine what classroom standards will help make students become more college and career ready. Last week, they released a report that includes information on the factors that have led schools to where they are now, as well as actions that should be taken for educators to see more success in preparing students for life after secondary school. For a brief on the report, click here.

Little Mention of Education Policy in First Presidential Debate, Politico

While the first debate may have been the most watched presidential debate in history, there was very little mention of either candidate’s education policies. Hillary Clinton mostly spoke about college affordability, while Donald Trump mentioned the need for more funding for school infrastructure. While the debate may have been lacking in education policy, NPR Ed has a breakdown of the policies of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Federal Government Avoids Shutdown, Politico

The federal government avoided a shutdown last week when a deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats to continue funding the government through December 9. The deal was struck after Republicans agreed that after the November elections they would hold a vote on a bill that would provide funding to address the water crisis in Flint, MI. The continuing resolution alleviates the worries of any slowdowns at the Department of Education and ensures that schools will continue to receive federal grants with no delays. You can view the continuing resolution here.

$245 Million Awarded to Public Charter Schools, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that it will produce $245 million in new grants under its Charter Schools Program. This funding will award over $170 million in eight states, and $68 million in new grants to 15 high-quality, nonprofit charter management organizations that serve students from low-income families. For more information, visit the Department of Education’s website.

 

 

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