Capitol Hill

Advocacy Update

Wrap-Up of the 2017 Advocacy Conference

Last week, NASSP hosted its 2017 Advocacy Conference, attended by more than 130 principals from across the country. During the conference, attendees engaged with panels focusing on school choice and higher education, heard and provided feedback on key policy issues directly to ED officials, and received in-depth training on how to advocate elected officials at all levels of government. The conference concluded with participants visiting their federal representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of career and technical education programs, Title II funding, and a variety of other issues. For more information on the conference, visit Twitter and search for #PrincipalsAdvocate.

Register for the National Principals Conference!

Do you want to be part of the largest gathering of elementary and secondary school principals in the nation? Then join us for the first-ever joint National Principals Conference, hosted by NASSP and NAESP on July 9–11 in Philadelphia.

The conference will offer a variety of ways in which school leaders can further their professional development and find solutions for problems facing their schools. There will be opportunities to network with peers from across the nation, sit in on sessions that highlight problems facing today’s students and educators, and attend exhibitions that examine new ways principals can serve their schools and students. Don’t miss this opportunity, register now!

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Budget talks have taken over Congress as they attempt to avoid any potential government shutdown. The original budget for FY 2017 was set to expire on April 28, but Congress averted a shutdown by passing a one week continuing resolution (CR) to give them more time to hash out a longer agreement. A bipartisan agreement was eventually reached, which will fund the federal government through the end of September. Congress is set to vote and pass the bill later this week.

Why Should Principals Care?

While the new budget agreement features cuts to many education programs, these cuts are far less severe than proposed in President Trump’s original “skinny budget” for FY 2018. Total spending for K–12 programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) would fall by $60 million from FY 2016. Unfortunately, Title II of ESSA would also be cut—by $294 million—although this is not nearly as large a cut as previously proposed by Trump, who originally requested the program be cut in half for FY 2017 and completely eliminated by FY 2018.

Another key program to highlight is the Student Support for Academic Enrichment Grant program, or Title IV, Part A of ESSA. This new program would actually receive $400 million in the agreement, but would now be a competitive grant program rather than a block grant program as originally authorized. For a more thorough overview of the budget agreement, you can visit here or here.

 

In the Press

Examining Teacher Shortages in the United States, The Hamilton Project

A new study from The Hamilton Project examines different causes of teacher shortages and offers potential solutions to recruiting and retaining teachers. The report specifically highlights the quality of a principal’s leadership as a high indicator of teacher satisfaction and retention.

Study Finds the D.C. Voucher Program Has a Negative Impact, National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance

A new study of Washington, D.C.’s federally funded voucher program found that vouchers had a negative impact on the reading and math scores of elementary students. The study also found that students in grades 6–12 did not see any statistical improvement in their test scores compared to their peers in public schools. Despite this recent information, the new budget agreement being voted on by Congress this week would actually reauthorize this program through 2019.

Advocacy Update

Comment on NASSP’s Position Statement on Teacher Shortage

One of the most difficult tasks principals face is staffing their schools with effective teachers who can help every student achieve to his or her greatest potential. Unfortunately, recent reports point to a growing teacher shortage nationwide. NASSP has released a new Teacher Shortage Position Statement to help address the problem and provide recommendations for policymakers and school leaders to help find new solutions.

The NASSP Board of Directors recently stated its intent to adopt this position statement and the 30-day public comment period is now open. If you would like to send a comment or recommendation regarding this statement, please contact Amanda Karhuse, NASSP Director of Advocacy, at karhusea@nassp.org by Friday, April 28.

Oppose Trump’s Budget and Support Educators!

Our nation’s principals play a unique and vital role in supporting student success. Research has shown that principals are the second most important factor in supporting student growth. Despite this fact, President Trump’s recent budget asked for a complete elimination of Title II, Part A funds for FY 2018 and to halve the amount of funds appropriated for FY 2017. However, Congress still has the ability to properly fund these programs that are meant to recruit, retain, and support teachers and principals. Take a stand with NASSP and participate in our newest action alert opposing President Trump’s cuts and asking Congress to fully fund Title II, Part A at the levels authorized under ESSA.

 

Inside the Beltway

What’s Happening in Washington?

Last week, President Trump officially signed legislation removing the ESSA accountability regulations that were put in place by the Obama administration. The final elimination completes the circle for the regulations since President Trump took office. He originally halted the accountability regulations from going into effect, which was then followed by the House of Representatives and Senate voting to eliminate them.

Also last week, amidst increasing concerns surrounding ESSA implementation, the NASSP Board of Directors visited Washington, D.C. for their quarterly board meeting and to join the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) at their National Leaders Conference. The board participated in the advocacy training portion of the conference and then joined elementary school principals from their state to visit their congressional representatives on Capitol Hill. Many of the meetings were successful, with members discussing an array of issues including funding for ESSA programs, as well as reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Act and the Higher Education Act. To learn more about the meetings, check out the hashtag #PrincipalsAdvocate on Twitter.

Why Should Principals Care?

Eliminating these regulations creates more uncertainty for states as they draw nearer to finalizing their ESSA plans. ED has neglected to provide much guidance to states, leaving many state boards of education wondering what this new administration will actually require of a plan in order for it to be accepted. There is also growing concern from the education community that ED may just rubber stamp many plans without properly examining them. With no oversight from the federal government, some state plans that contain harmful regulations could be enacted with no pushback whatsoever.

 

In the Press

NASSP Partners with Others to Protect Funds for Principals, EdWeek

As noted above, the Trump administration has shown that one of its budget priorities is to eliminate funding that directly aids teachers and principals in better serving all students. That is why NASSP has partnered with a number of other organizations to call for the protection of these funds and to show the Trump administration the detrimental impact its efforts could have on our nation’s educators.

Secretary DeVos May Use ESSA Plans to Push Vouchers, U.S. News & World Report

Secretary DeVos has made it clear that one of her key objectives is to promote school choice policies that could prove detrimental for public education institutions. It seems that DeVos may use every avenue possible to pursue this failed policy, even encouraging states to adopt choice policies in their own ESSA state plans.

My Day on Capitol Hill

Recently, members of NASSP’s Student Leadership Advisory Committee visited Capitol Hill to meet with their respective members of Congress and participate in education-focused advocacy. The Student Leadership Advisory Committee has helped shape NASSP’s Student Leadership Initiative: Global Citizenship and continues to be an important voice on behalf of young people. In the posts below, learn about what a few of the committee members did while advocating on Capitol Hill. 

 

 

 

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Why I Joined the Federal Grassroots Network—and Why You Should Too

If you’ve yet to join NASSP’s Federal Grassroots Network (FGN) because you’re not sure how it will benefit you, how you can contribute, or even what FGN is, I hope that learning about my experience will give you the clarity you need to jump on board. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

How Have You Used the ESSA Toolkit?

Have you used NASSP’s ESSA Toolkit to influence your state’s plan? If the answer is yes, please let us know! NASSP is looking for stories from individuals who have used the toolkit to help them navigate the ESSA implementation process. (more…)

Why I’ll be Returning to the NASSP Advocacy Conference

By now, you’ve likely seen NASSP’s calls to attend the 2017 Advocacy Conference on Capitol Hill and formed a few questions about it. Will I really be meeting with members of Congress? If so, do these people really care what I have to say? What can I expect—or will be expected of me—if I go?

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Advocacy Update

Registration Is Filling Up Fast…

So don’t miss your chance to join us April 24–26, 2017 for the NASSP Advocacy Conference. This event  brings together state leaders to advocate on behalf of the nation’s school principals and offers a unique insight into the world of policy and politics. 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’ members of Congress and their staff. (more…)

Advocacy Update

Support Public Education by Opposing Betsy DeVos

On February 7, the Senate is planning to vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the next secretary of education. Educators and students deserve a secretary who can commit to supporting every student in all public schools, and a leader who will work tirelessly to promote a public education system that provides each child with the ability to learn and prosper. DeVos’ past work and her performance at her recent confirmation hearing has demonstrated neither a depth of experience nor a knowledge base in education, indicating that she is not the candidate that students and educators need. (more…)

Celebrate National Principals Month

As we all know, principal leadership is an essential fuel within schools that ultimately determines optimal student and school performance and success. But we also know that principals and the work they do in schools around the country are too often overlooked. (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…)