Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

A new Congress and a new presidential administration could mean a shake-up in many of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations that have guided your state’s efforts to implement the new law. Be sure your state leaders know the important role school leaders play in student success with the ESSA Toolkit. This custom-designed toolkit provides:

  • Guidance to influence your state’s plan for using federal funds to better support students, schools, and principals
  • Draft legislation and policies for your state that highlight the importance of school leaders through the toolkit’s model legislation tool
  • Messaging templates for use in traditional and social media channels

If policymakers don’t get their education information from you, they will get it somewhere else.

The 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference

Learn the issues. Develop your stories to illustrate the issues. Deliver your message to members of Congress. That is the essence of the 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference. We will gather state association leaders, state lobbyists, and members of the Federal Grassroots Network April 24-26 in Washington, D.C., to deliver a powerful message with a unified voice to federal legislators: That great school leaders are vital to the success of each student. There is no registration fee to attend the NASSP Advocacy Conference. Contact Zachary Scott for more information.

2016 #ThankAPrincipal Video Contest Winners Announced

Three winning schools—an elementary, middle, and high school—each received a $200 Best Buy gift card in the 2016 #ThankAPrincipal Video Contest. NASSP wants to thank all 62 student teams that created videos in honor of their principals. Get a jump on the 2017 contest by reviewing the contest rules here.

New NASSP Position Statement on School Facilities

NASSP is soliciting comments on a new position statement on school facilities. The statement expresses deep concern regarding the state of the nation’s school facilities and offers recommendations for modernizing all schools to provide safe and accessible 21st-century learning environments. Send your comments by Friday, December 16, to Amanda Karhuse, NASSP director of Advocacy, at karhusea@nassp.org.

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s happening in Washington?

A government shutdown was avoided last week when Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government through April 28, 2017. Both Republicans and Democrats have released their own summary of the bill, which will feature a .19 percent across-the-board cut to remain under the Budget Control Act’s post-sequester discretionary cap for 2017.

Why Should Principals Care?

The passage of the CR ensures that there will be no separate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bill to specifically address education funding. Also, while the .19 percent cut is smaller than that of the CR passed in September, it is still a reduction in funding that will affect a number of education programs in 2017. The bill also makes available unobligated funds from previous years for the school voucher program in Washington, D.C. With President-elect Trump and Education Secretary-designate DeVos both being vocal supporters of voucher programs in the past, some are fearing that the inclusion of this provision could mark an expansion of the nation’s only federally funded voucher program in 2017.

 

In the Press

ED Releases Final Testing Regulations

On December 7, ED released the final regulations regarding testing and accountability measures under ESSA. There were few changes in the final regulations from those that were previously introduced in the summer, but there were some areas that were altered to help grant states and districts more flexibility in testing. This included making it easier for states to request a waiver on the 1 percent cap on the number of students that states can test with alternate exams. It also provided more flexibility in testing Native American students in their native language. The final rule now allows these students to be tested in their native language in more than just reading and English language arts. You can find a summary of these new regulations here.

ED Releases New Guidelines Aimed at Helping Justice-Involved Youth, U.S. Department of Education

Secretary of Education King recently released a letter highlighting the importance of helping justice-involved youth transition to and succeed in traditional school settings. To help with this, ED has released four new resources to help schools and faculty in aiding justice-involved youth. These resources include the Transition Toolkit, the “You Got This” guide for students, the IDEAs That Work website aimed at improving outcomes for youth with disabilities in juvenile corrections, and a document that demonstrates some of the challenges faced by those receiving an education in juvenile justice facilities.

Understanding School Achievement in State Report Cards, Data Quality Campaign

A new study finds that the majority of state report cards are often very difficult for parents and other average Americans to understand, or they simply lack important information. For example, it notes that many states’ report cards do not show students’ performance levels, graduation rates, teacher quality measures, or other important data in regards to school and student achievement. This lack of information makes it extremely difficult for parents to truly gauge and compare the effectiveness of their children’s schools.

NASSP President-elect Daniel Kelley Looks Forward to Working in Washington, D.C., The Valley Breeze

NASSP’s 2017 President-elect Daniel Kelley recently sat down with a local news outlet, The Valley Breeze, to discuss what he hopes to accomplish when he serves as NASSP president in 2017. In the interview, Kelley states that he looks forward to advocating on behalf of principals to help the federal government better understand how crucial effective leaders are for a good school. He hopes that he can use his experiences and those of his peers to best illustrate what the federal government must do to provide principals with the support they require.

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