Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

Making sense of new legislation like ESSA is always difficult. NASSP wants to make it easy for you! The new ESSA Toolkit provides a detailed breakdown of some of the law’s most important provisions for principals. It also makes it easy to find out what your state is doing by providing links to each State Department of Education’s web page. It will also provide many other beneficial pieces, including:

  • Fact Sheets which detail the important provisions of the law and how they will impact schools.
  • Tutorials on how to identify important stories that can help principals illustrate their message.
  • Communication templates with sample letters, op-eds, and social media posts.
  • Model legislation that can show state legislators how to properly design principal recruitment, preparation, and training strategies.

Reach Out to Congress!

After tomorrow, elected officials will shift their focus from elections back to Washington. The biggest hurdle standing between Congress and 2017 is funding federal programs and services. When budget talks begin, it is important that principals let their congressional representatives know how necessary federal funds are to improving student achievement.

NASSP currently has two Action Alerts that will allow principals to quickly and easily contact their representatives. It is essential that principals have a strong, united voice when budget negotiations reignite. Let Congress know that principals stand together to support funding that provides students access to a well-rounded education, a safe learning environment, and learning opportunities that help principals become the best instructional leaders for their schools.

Inside the Beltway

What’s going on in Washington?

The halls of Congress have fallen silent as elected officials are making one more rush in their districts before tomorrow’s election. The country waits with anticipation to see who will be the newly elected president of the United States. It has been a long, arduous campaign for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but the campaign trail is finally coming to an end.

Why Should Principals Care?

Whomever is elected president on Election Day will play one of the most important roles in shaping education policy for at least the next four years. Both candidates have a number of different ideas about what should drive education forward. Some education organizations have provided a breakdown of the candidates’ different policies, while others have compared them directly.

While most of the nation will be watching the presidential election, it is still important to remember that there are still key elections in the Senate and the House of Representatives. These elections will shape future education funding levels for appropriations and will have a major impact on ESSA implementation. Education Week has provided a full breakdown on these races, as well as important information on other state elections that will have a large impact on local schools and districts.

In the Press

Hurdles to Competency-Based Education, American Youth Policy Forum

The main goal of K-12 education has always been to ensure that when students graduate high school they are college or career ready. A new movement towards competency-based education (CBE) has gained traction as a way to ensure that students possess the necessary academic knowledge, abilities, and personal skills to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. While CBE has seen some positive steps forward, many challenges still remain to it being implemented full-scale. To help better understand some of these challenges, AYPF has a new blog post that breaks down the main difficulties of implementing CBE on a large-scale.

Secretary of Education Thanks Principals, Medium

To commemorate the end of National Principals Month, Secretary John King penned a blog post thanking principals for all that they do for students and their communities. He notes the important roles that principals play in supporting their schools and teachers, while also keeping their main focus on improving each student’s learning experience and driving their achievement forward.

Rigorous Standards Lead to Student Improvement, EdSource

A new study has found that after states have adopted higher standards for learning, most have seen an improvement in student achievement. The study examined over forty states that have maintained high standards for multiple years, and found that the majority of those states are seeing students’ proficiency rates growing.

Are High School Diplomas Actually Preparing Students for Life After High School?, Achieve

While seeing high school graduation rates rise across the country is always a positive sign, a new report notes that many high schools still have much work to be done to ensure that these graduates are college and career ready. The report notes that sixteen states still do not require students to take college and career ready courses before they graduate, and this could be leaving those students unsure of what to expect when they graduate high school.

How the Next President Can Improve Education, TIME

A new piece examines six different ways that either candidate can help improve education as the next president. Some of the ideas include expanding access to high-quality early childhood education, increasing college and career readiness, and encouraging the growth of responsible college-savings plans.

Positive School Climates Help to Close Achievement Gaps, American Educational Research Association

A new report has found that schools with positive climates are improving at narrowing achievement gaps among students of different socioeconomic backgrounds and between those with different levels of academic abilities. The report stated that positive school climates are marked by a supportive, caring approach from faculty; a sense of safety from violence and bullying; student connectedness in the school; and parental involvement. All of these can lead to a stronger feeling of connectedness between the students and the community to have them pull together to focus on helping all students.

An NASSP Member Highlights What Principals Need to Succeed, U.S. Department of Education Blog

A recent piece by current Principal Ambassador Fellow Dr. Monifa McKnight highlights the pressure that principals feel to succeed at new schools. Dr. McKnight also points out that fostering a school culture where everyone is committed to a community of learners is often quite difficult, and that you must engage the entire faculty to make such a change effective. Dr. McKnight is an NASSP member and was also the 2015 Maryland Principal of the Year.

ESSA Updates from State to State,  ASCD

The ASCD has come out with a new tool that allow users the ability to quickly find information on ESSA implementation in their state. The tool provides you with direct links to state websites that allow you to view resources regarding ESSA implementation, provide your own input on ESSA for your state online, and sign up for future ESSA updates from your state.

Helping States with Personalized Learning, International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL)

Granting more local control to school districts and states is one of the things that made ESSA such an appealing piece of legislation. Now that states and school districts have this control, though, it is up to them to find ways to help all students succeed. A new report from iNACOL provides state policymakers recommendations and suggestions for helping them gear their teaching efforts to support more personalized and competency-based learning to benefit students.

Looking at Different State Assessment Opportunities Under ESSA, KnowledgeWorks

When states and stakeholders sit down to begin determining their new assessment systems, they may fear that they’re facing an uphill battle. KnowledgeWorks recently released a new toolkit that is aimed at helping states and stakeholders explore new assessment provisions under ESSA. The toolkit also aids in deepening the understanding of how different assessment models in ESSA can benefit students.

 

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