Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

New NASSP Action Alert!

The continuing resolution to fund federal programs for FY 2017 is set to expire on April 28. Because of this, members of Congress have already begun negotiating budget deals for the rest of 2017, and possibly 2018. This current negotiation process is particularly concerning to states and districts as they work to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

If ESSA is to be implemented effectively and efficiently, Congress must provide for key education programs with the necessary financial support. Of particular note is Title II, Part A of ESSA, which provides funding to states for the purpose of preparing, training, recruiting, and retaining high-quality teachers, principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders. This program was originally authorized at $2.295 billion under ESSA—still well below presequestration levels. The appropriators must fully fund this section of ESSA at the levels the authorizers intended so that every child has access to high-quality teachers and school leaders.

NASSP encourages you to reach out to your representatives through our newest action alert to let them know how funding Title II will ensure every child has access to great teachers and leaders.

 

The 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference

Would you like a chance to speak with those in the federal government about what is important to you and your school? Then join us April 24–26 for the 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference. This conference brings together state leaders to advocate on behalf of the nation’s school principals. Having these leaders converge on Congress and speak in a unified voice delivers a powerful message to legislators that effective principals are vital to student success.

The program consists of panel discussions with representatives from other national education associations, congressional staff, and officials from ED or the White House; a briefing on the latest news in Congress and NASSP’s legislative agenda; and a day on Capitol Hill attending meetings with principals’ respective members of Congress and their staff.

There is no registration fee to attend the conference, but travel and lodging expenses may be required. Please contact Zachary Scott with any questions.

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. This case may prove to be one of the most significant special education cases that has come before the Supreme Court in decades.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide all students with disabilities a “free and appropriate public education.” However, the definition of what constitutes a “free and appropriate” education is being debated in this case. Those on the side of Endrew argue that a meaningful educational benefit must be provided to students with disabilities for an education to qualify as “appropriate.” However, Douglas County School District is arguing that as long as students see some sort of improvement, the level of educational benefit is irrelevant as they’re still receiving a beneficial education. You can find more background on the case here.

Why Should Principals Care?

This case will have a major impact on the regulations of IDEA moving forward. If the petitioners prevail, then schools that are already abiding by IDEA’s extensive procedural requirements would need to be prepared to prove that they’re providing a “meaningful” or “substantial” education to all special education students. Many schools could face potential litigation from parents who believe their children are not receiving a high-quality education at their current public school and seek district reimbursement for private school tuition. These schools could face a number of increased costs that could lead to cutbacks in other areas of education.

For these reasons, NASSP, along with The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and a number of other education organizations, recently filed an amicus brief supporting the defendants in this case. A ruling for the petitioners could lead to drastic financial strain for schools, and such a ruling would circumvent the original intent that Congress had when passing IDEA. You can find a more detailed background and analysis on AASA’s website.

 

In the Press

Ten States Selected to Receive $20 Million for Career and Technical Education, THE Journal

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Council of Chief State School Officers recently announced that 10 states will split $20 million in grants to improve career and technical education (CTE). The states that will participate in the new program are Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Applications Being Accepted for the FY 17 Charter Schools Program Grants, U.S. Department of Education (ED)

ED recently announced that it is now accepting applications for the FY 17 Charter Schools Program Grants. These grants are for charter management organizations to replicate and expand high-quality charter schools. The department will hold a preapplication webinar for prospective applicants on Tuesday, January, 24,  from 1:00–2:30 p.m. (ET). Prospective applicants must preregister for the webinar by emailing their name, organization, and contact information to CharterSchools@ed.gov using the subject heading “CMO PREAPPLICATION MEETING” by 12:00 p.m. (ET) on the day of the event. Applications for the grant are due by 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Monday, February 27, and must be submitted through grants.gov.

ED Releases its Framework to Promote Global and Cultural Competency, ED

Last week, ED finalized and released its “Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic Competitiveness.” This framework was developed with input from a number of different education organizations, including NASSP. Its goal is to provide benchmarks for making students better equipped with critical thinking, communication, socioemotional, and language skills, so they can work collaboratively with their counterparts in the United States and all over the world.

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