Advocacy Update

Help Advocate for Your School

Have you ever wondered how federal dollars and programs can help your school? Are you interested in telling your congressional representatives the challenges you face as an educator? Then join us April 24–26 at 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 the U.S. Department of Education (ED); 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.

Educators Need Federal Funds!

As states continue to work through how to properly implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Congress is working on formulating a new budget agreement to continue funding the government after April 28. If ESSA is to be implemented effectively by states and districts, then the federal government must appropriate the necessary funds for them to do so.

An area of particular note in ESSA is Title II, Part A. This program provides funding for the purpose of preparing, training, recruiting, and retaining high-quality teachers, principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders. Title II, Part A of ESSA is authorized at $2.295 billion, which is still well below presequestration funding levels. Therefore, it is imperative that any budget agreement funds this section of ESSA at the level the authorizers intended.

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.

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a confirmation hearing for the potential next secretary of education, Betsy DeVos. The hearing lasted for over three hours with both Republicans and Democrats each getting five minutes to question DeVos.

Last week, the Obama administration also pulled the contested “supplement-not-supplant” rule from ESSA. The provision was meant to ensure that districts weren’t using Title I dollars reserved for poor students to fill in gaps in state and local education funding. The rule drew praise from many civil rights organizations, as they believed it ensured proper funding for all students. However, the rule was opposed by many state leaders and districts, because they felt the rule would place a large burden on districts when it came to compliance and funding measures.

Lastly, on January 20, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Why Should Principals Care?

Those hoping to have a clearer picture of what education policy may look like with DeVos at the helm of the U.S. Department of Education were left disappointed after Tuesday’s hearing. The majority of the questions DeVos faced focused less on real education policy, but rather on her lack of public school experience and financial contributions to elected officials and organizations supporting a pro-school-choice and anti-LGBTQ agenda. When questions did focus on policy, DeVos often provided ambiguous answers as to what her policies or plans would be moving forward. With the hearing over, it still appears that DeVos will be confirmed as the next secretary of education as Republicans appear to be holding their party line to ensure her confirmation. The committee vote for DeVos’ confirmation is scheduled for January 31. You can view the entire hearing here.

With the supplement-not-supplant rules being pulled from ESSA, states and districts should have more flexibility in how they spend state and local dollars. Also, districts will not need to provide proof to ED that they’re adhering to these regulations, allowing them to save extra funds as well.

 

In the Press

More Students Gaining Access to Broadband, Education Superhighway

Educators, districts, and communities are still trying to find ways to ensure that all students have access to broadband services at home to help in closing the homework gap. A new report shows that while there is still work to be done, positive growth is being made. For example, 30.9 million students gained access to broadband in the last three years, and now 88 percent of school districts are meeting the minimum connectivity goal.

Mixed Results for Voucher Programs, USA Today

With Trump and DeVos both being large proponents of school choice, there has been a lot of talk surrounding voucher systems lately. However, do vouchers really help students succeed? This article examines a number of different voucher programs around the United States and finds that there are often mixed results on whether vouchers aid students. Ultimately, there seems to be no real correlation between voucher systems and student success.

How to Keep School and Student Data Safe, EdTech

Technology has allowed schools to easily store school, faculty, and student data. However, many are worried about the security that comes along with storing such data. This article highlights good practices for ensuring that a whole school works together to keep its data private. It points out that providing students and staff with digital education is often the best defense to ensure that their information is well protected.

John King Discusses Discipline, Vox

In a recent interview, John King discusses his role as a reformer of school discipline during his time as secretary of education. He notes the specific harm that suspensions and expulsions can have on a student, and that it is important for schools to find new and alternative ways to reach misbehaving students. His statements on school discipline fall closely in line with those of NASSP.

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