Principal's Policy

Curbing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

On Wednesday at the National Press Club, Education Secretary Arne Duncan delivered a speech that called for reducing state and local correctional expenditures in order to increase teacher salaries in high-poverty schools. Throughout the speech, Secretary Duncan discussed the inseparable link between education and incarceration and reminded the audience that more than two-thirds of state prison inmates are high school dropouts.

Shortly after, the U.S. Department of Education released a state-by-state breakdown of annual correctional expenditures, teacher salaries in high-poverty schools, and the estimated impact of reallocating 21 percent of funding for correctional facilitations towards teacher salaries. By reinvesting these funds, states could increase teacher salaries in high-poverty schools by $15 billion annually, which could help school districts recruit and retain highly qualified teachers in the highest-need schools. (more…)

Congress Considers Bill to Tackle the Homework Gap

Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) recently introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act (H.R. 3582) to ensure students and their families have broadband Internet access in their homes. A companion bill, The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 (S. 1606), was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This bill will help provide students and their families with equitable access to the Internet at home to support family engagement in their child’s education and will allow students to accomplish essential tasks such as completing their homework, applying for colleges, and seeking post-graduation employment.

According to a letter of support sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership by education groups (including NASSP and NAESP), the bill: (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

Under pressure from more conservative members of the Republican Party, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Friday that he will resign from Congress effective October 31, paving the way for the passage of a clean spending bill this week to keep the government open. Conservative members had threatened to prevent passage of a spending bill unless Planned Parenthood was defunded. That plus a repeal of the Affordable Care Act will now be considered in the budget reconciliation. Reconciliation bills are considered under special rules requiring a simple majority and cannot be filibustered in the Senate.

The retirement of Speaker Boehner puts even greater pressure on Democrats and the White House to reach a deal to pass a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in Congress. (more…)

Principals Take On Capitol Hill During Annual Principals Institute

State principals of the year from around the country traveled to Washington, D.C., for a week of networking, professional development, and meetings with their members of Congress during NASSP’s annual Principal of the Year Institute. The week­ (September 15–18) provided principals with the opportunity to network with peers, learn about federal education legislation, and advocate for their schools and their profession.

During a professional development day, the principals took part in an Edcamp session, where they spent time discussing and sharing ideas about various topics including increasing student voice, improving math outcomes, and teacher evaluations. The principals then traveled to Capitol Hill the following day to meet with their members of Congress. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

Congress returned this week and took up a bill rejecting the Iran deal. The bill did not pass, which paves the way for the deal to go forward. The threat of a government shutdown is hanging over Congress with only a few legislative working days until the new government fiscal year begins on October 1. Conservative Republicans have threatened to filibuster if Planned Parenthood is not defunded in the budget but Republican Party leadership is eager to avoid being blamed for another government shutdown and is conscious of the party’s position heading into a major election year. A short-term continuing resolution is likely in the next week to allow Congress to reach a deal. Other major programs are set to expire through the fall and the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money on October 29.

ESEA is still being discussed amongst education staffers and we expect to see more public news about a conference committee in the next couple of months. Meanwhile, education advocates are focused on appropriations and other bills waiting in the queue such as the Higher Education Act. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

Congress returns from the August recess this week and they have a full agenda for the month. They have until September 17 to take action on the Iran deal and until September 30 to pass a spending bill before government shutdown. Several programs such as the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 are set to expire at the end of the month without reauthorization. Education advocates are anticipating news about the ESEA Conference Committee this month or next month.

In the Press

 After 12 Years in the House, Kline Opts to Retire, Washington Post

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), current Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, announced last Thursday that he intends to retire at the end of his current term. His retirement puts pressure on lawmakers to pass reauthorization of ESEA—a law Rep. Kline has been working on for many years. (more…)

Principals Take Action for ESEA

Thank you to everyone who took action by sending messages to their senators through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center in support of a full reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Your emails and tweets to senators’ offices let Capitol Hill know that principals have been waiting long enough for a new ESEA. Messages sent expressed support and concern for several different provisions, as expressed in the joint comments previously sent to Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Murray by NASSP, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the American Federation of School Administrators.

The Senate passed their version of the reauthorization, the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177) on July 16, 2015 with wide bipartisan support in an 81-17 vote. The vote follows the passage of the House version, the Student Success Act (H.R. 5) on July 8th. Advocates are anticipating a Conference Committee to be formed to combine the two bills this fall. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Inside the Beltway

Congress returns from August recess after Labor Day on September 8 and the current continuing resolution keeping the government funded runs out on September 30. The Iran deal has been taking up airwaves as President Obama courts votes. On the budget front, conservative Republicans have threatened to derail the budget process if Planned Parenthood is not defunded, but Republican leadership is anxious to avoid that scenario.

In the Press

2015 PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, PDK/Gallup

This month, PDK International and Gallup released their annual poll data on the public’s attitudes toward public schools. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Take Action on ESEA

Congress is still on recess, but NASSP is working hard to ensure principals have a voice in ESEA reauthorization. Working with the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Federation of School Administrators, NASSP sent a detailed letter to lawmakers on Capitol Hill outlining our concerns and priorities going forward with the ESEA conference report. Lend your voice to the cause today by sending an email to your senators and representatives through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center!

Inside the Beltway

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced more than $16.2 million in grants to improve school leadership in the nation’s lowest performing schools through the Turnaround School Leaders Program. Grants are used to build systems at the district level to provide training to new and current school leaders to prepare them to lead turnaround efforts in schools that have received School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds. (more…)

The Next Big Thing: Student Data Privacy

Throughout the spring and summer a flurry of legislation was introduced concerning student data privacy. As representatives of principals across the nation, NASSP and the National Association of Elementary School Princpals (NAESP) agree that any legislation should ensure student data remains private but available for use to improve learning and instruction without placing undue burden on school principals.

The variety of bills introduced present a range of options that could result in big changes to how schools are asked to store and use student data. With the increasing use of education technology in classrooms using student data to enhance and personalize the student learning experience, lawmakers must carefully consider how to protect the right to privacy for students and their families. Moreover, legislators should rely on the voices of those working in school buildings to ensure policies have no unintended consequences.

NASSP and NAESP will continue to work together to review all legislation and meet with congressional staff to ensure they include our shared vision. Now that the House and Senate is on recess we have outlined here what has happened on Capitol Hill surrounding student data privacy since the beginning of the 114th Congress in January. (more…)