Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

National Principals Month

National Principals Month continues moving along with NASSP co-hosting an event on Capitol Hill this week entitled “Revolutionizing School Leadership Under ESSA.” As states and districts begin implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is important to understand how the law can provide unprecedented support for principals and other educators. This event will bring in current and former principals and educators to discuss both the policy and practitioner perspective on how to best support school leadership to improve school outcomes.

The event will be hosted from 1:00–2:30 p.m. (ET) on October 13, in B354 of the Rayburn House Office Building. If you’re able to attend, please feel free to register. This event will also be live streamed.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The Department of Education (ED) recently released new guidance explaining how schools can benefit by using Title I funds for schoolwide programs. Title I funds are used to support reforms and innovations that improve educational opportunities for low-achieving students. The guidance points out that ESSA grants schools new opportunities to use its Title I funds “to upgrade its entire educational program.”

Why Should Principals Care?

Flexibility in the spending of federal dollars grants principals new chances to come up with unique and innovative solutions to improve student growth and well-being. Schoolwide programs grant that flexibility by allowing Title I funds to be used to help address the needs of all students in the school. The guidance also provides further information on how to apply for and implement a schoolwide program request, as well as a number of examples demonstrating what Title I schoolwide funds have been used for in the past.

In the Press

Can Student Test Scores Accurately Measure Principals’ Performance?, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE)

A recent report from the NCEE at the Institute of Education Sciences studies the extent to which student test scores accurately reflect principals’ contributions to student achievement. The report finds a number of factors may play a role in a principal’s ability to positively influence student achievement in future years, meaning states and districts should be wary of using student test scores as measures in making major decisions about principals.

Support for Principals and School Leaders in Title II Fact Sheet, U.S. Department of Education

Last week, the main focus of NASSP’s Advocacy Update was on ED’s guidance on Title II, Part A funding. If you have not been able to read the guidance yet, ED recently provided a much shorter fact sheet that summarizes the guidance and lays out funding support for educators and administrators.

Defining “School Quality” Under ESSA, Bellwether Education Partners

States have been granted a number of new and unique opportunities under ESSA. This includes the ability to design their own school-accountability systems, with far more flexibility in developing and assessing those systems than they were granted under No Child Left Behind. In his new paper, Chad Aldeman argues that current accountability systems are outdated and that states must use this new opportunity to update their systems to aid students, educators, and parents. The paper also offers a variety of suggestions and ideas for states to revamp their systems to more accurately portray school performance.

New Study Examines How Principals Spend Their Time, Regional Educational Laboratory Program

A new study researches how principals in a variety of different settings spend their time on the job. It found that public school principals work an average of 59 hours per week, with most of that time being spent on internal administrative tasks. The study also examined the professional development of principals and found that 99% of principals in regular public schools reported participating in some type of professional development. The most common form cited was workshop or conference attendance at 94 percent, with the least common being participation in university courses at 25 percent.

Four Charter Schools and Their Principal Pipelines, Center for American Progress

A constant difficulty for schools and districts is hiring and retaining effective principals. Annual turnover for principals is 25 percent per year, with 50 percent of new principals leaving their schools by the end of their third year. A new report from the Center for American Progress highlights four charter-school networks that have developed efficient principal hiring, training, and retaining procedures, all of which has, in turn, supported student growth.

Spending Per Student Still Below Pre-Recession Levels, National Center for Education Statistics

According to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics, total spending per student in public elementary and secondary schools rose across the country by 1.4 percent in FY 2014. While this was a move in the right direction, the national average per student in that year was only $11,066. This number is still below pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation, meaning schools are still being forced to do more with less than they were in previous years.

Report Breaks Down Top Issues of ESSA, Education Commission of the States

ESSA implementation is coming very quickly, and with it comes many questions from educators and school leaders. A new report provides easy-to-understand guides and breakdowns on 10 of ESSA’s most important policy areas.

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