Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

Contact Your Members of Congress!

Funding for FY 2017 expires on April 28, and Congress has already begun discussions to determine what the next steps are for the federal budget. As states continue to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), it is important that Congress understands how necessary federal funds are for proper implementation of the law.

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 pre-sequestration 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 action alert to let them know how funding Title II will ensure every child has access to great teachers and leaders.

 

Help Advocate for Your School

Please 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; 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?

On January 31, the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions (HELP) Committee is planning a vote on the advancement of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. If DeVos advances past the committee, there will then be a vote for her full confirmation by the Senate. After DeVos’ HELP Committee hearing, congressional offices have received a flood of constituent emails and phone calls from those voicing their concerns about her. DeVos seemed ill-prepared for the hearing, as she struggled on many important education policies. This included her lack of understanding over the growth-proficiency dichotomy, ignorance of the federal government’s role in enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and insensitive remarks toward allowing guns in schools.

DeVos’ hearing and her lack of support for public education proves that she is incapable of serving in a capacity that will aid all students and educators. For these reasons, NASSP opposes her confirmation.

Why Should Principals Care?

This will be the first time that NASSP has opposed a secretary of education nominee. However, DeVos’ continued lack of understanding and support for public education has proven too worrisome to ignore. Our nation’s students and educators deserve an education secretary who will work to address the public school system to ensure that all students have the opportunity for a good education—not one who has continually supported privatization policies that benefit only a select few.

Please take a stand with NASSP by contacting your congressional representatives to let them know how you feel about Betsy DeVos.

 

In the Press

Stakeholder Engagement in ESSA, National Association of State Boards of Education

One of the key points of implementing ESSA is ensuring a proper amount of stakeholder engagement in a state’s plan. A new report notes a number of challenges that state boards of education face when trying to engage stakeholders, but it also points out a number of promising practices that states can adopt to ensure they’re meeting the necessary requirements put in place by ESSA.

Students Benefit from More and Better Learning Time, Center on Education Policy

A new study recently found that expanding or restructuring learning time contributed to particular benefits for disadvantaged students, including higher-quality instruction, a greater choice of student learning experiences, more services to meet student and community needs, and improved student access to caring adults. The report also provides a number of recommendations on how to help students gain and effectively use more learning time.

Principals Play a Key Role in Reducing Teacher Turnover, New America

Finding and retaining effective teachers continues to be one of the largest obstacles that principals face, especially in low-performing schools. New data shows that school working conditions actually matter most when a teacher decides whether to stay or leave a school, and principals play an important role in a teacher’s perception of their school working conditions. It also examines how ESSA can be used to promote principal development, which would, in turn, lower teacher turnover.

Examining the Process of Developing a State Plan for ESSA, Education Commission of the States

Last December, the Education Commission of the States brought together a number of different policy experts and representatives from state education agencies to better understand their process for developing a state ESSA plan. The accompanying report highlights a number of best practices for and examples of how a variety of states have gone about implementing their plans.

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