FGN News: January 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 is not only a presidential election year; it is also the 100th anniversary of NASSP’s founding. Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida has introduced a resolution in the House to commemorate this historic achievement. We’re looking forward to more activities related to the 100-year anniversary and sharing with you some of NASSP’s biggest achievements over the years.

Looking to the future, NASSP’s advocacy staff is following many key bills through Congress this year. We’re expecting that the 2016 election and Obama’s last year in office will create a different dynamic and tension on Capitol Hill. This could mean more gridlock and focus on controversial issues. Right now, we are following the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, reauthorization of child nutrition programs (currently the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act), and the flurry of bills introduced last year to update the laws concerning student data privacy to better fit modern data management systems and instructional methods. We’re also watching the reauthorization of the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. NASSP recently signed on to a coalition letter in support of Perkins as an effective tool for improving student outcomes.

We are looking forward to meeting members of the Federal Grassroots Network who will be joining us at the Ignite ’16 Conference. In particular, advocacy staff will be presenting a concurrent session at the conference on Saturday at 8:00–9:30 a.m. titled “Goodbye NCLB, Hello ESSA: What the New Federal Law Means for Your School.” We hope you will join us for this informative session.

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Budget and Appropriations

After temporarily funding the government on two different continuing resolutions (CRs), Congress reached a deal December 16 to fund the government through September 2016. The omnibus spending bill lays out how the government will spend the $1.1 trillion dollars budgeted for FY 2016. The House passed the bill in a vote of 316–113 and the Senate passed the bill in a vote of 65–33 before sending it to President Obama to sign. The $1.2 billion boost for education is seen as a major win after a year of anticipated cuts to education. Read NASSP’s commentary in a School of Thought blog post to find out which key education programs were or were not included in the bill. The new budget tables for the Department of Education, which contain the funding history of individual programs, are also available now.

ESSA Regulations

Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. held an education stakeholder meeting last month to discuss his priorities for his term that began January 1, as well as some of the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) thinking on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) rule-making process. He also announced a new website to house all information related to the new education law. NASSP was in attendance.

ED also published a Dear Colleague letter before the holidays addressing the transition to ESSA. In addition, ED launched the rule-making process by announcing a Request for Information and two public hearings on Title I of ESSA. Officials are looking for comments on assessments and also on the requirement that Title I, Part A, funds supplement—not supplant—local and state funds for schools. Look out for more communications from NASSP as ED goes through the ESSA regulation process. NASSP will be submitting comments on behalf of the association, and we are collecting feedback from members to inform those comments through an online survey.

Principals’ Priorities in the Higher Education Act

Just before the New Year, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Educator Preparation Reform Act, aimed at better preparing teachers, principals, and other educators to be effective and profession-ready on day one. NASSP endorsed this legislation in the 113th Congress, and after submitting minor policy recommendations to Sen. Reed’s staff, which were included in the updated version, NASSP once again supports this bill.

Now that the Every Student Succeeds Act has been signed into law, NASSP will focus on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which should have been reauthorized in 2013. In addition to the Education Preparation Reform Act and changing regulations around certifications for educators teaching dual and concurrent enrollment courses, NASSP will be pushing for the Recruiting and Retaining Effective School Leaders Act, which was introduced in November by Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA). This bill would provide loan forgiveness over a seven-year period to elementary, middle, and high school principals and assistant principals who work in schools where at least 30 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Visit the School of Thought blog for more information.

Twitter Talk

@jfcastro2 Districts have a great opportunity in using Title IV $ for digital learning, especially PD for principals & teachers! ‪#ESSA2016#edtech‬‬‬‬
@dnchodak Ownership of learning is a great incentive for kids to learn. That is not possible in a system demanding control of everything. ‪#satchat‬‬
@akarhuse “Teacher feedback should be an essential component of principal evaluations.” ‪@Education_AIR@EdPolicyAIR@NASSP‬‬‬‬‬‬

For more advocacy tweets, join us on social media by following NASSP and the advocacy staff on Twitter:


Founded in 1969 with the goal of achieving adequate federal funding for the nation’s schools, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) is the largest education coalition. NASSP is a member of CEF, and by working with the coalition as the united voice for education funding, CEF is able to achieve bigger goals than any one organization alone.

Take Action

Thank you to the hundreds of members who sent messages through the Principal’s Legislative Action Center in support of ESEA reauthorization. We’re looking forward to a new year with new bills to benefit principals and the schools they serve. Look out for more action alerts as bills progress through Congress.

In this Month’s Principal Leadership


The January issue of Principal Leadership magazine features a guest article from U.S. Department of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow Sharif El-Mekki about his experience engaging policymakers in Washington, D.C. El-Mekki is the proud principal of Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus in Philadelphia.

Advocacy Updates on School of Thought

Visit NASSP’s School of Thought blog for weekly advocacy blog posts and the latest education legislation news. On December 9, as the Senate moved for final passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, NASSP published a blog post titled “A Historic Day for Students, Teachers, and Principals as the Senate Votes to Replace NCLB” to share the news as it happened and highlight the pieces of the new law most relevant to principals.

All FGN members are invited to write a guest blog post for School of Thought—just email Advocacy Coordinator Sophie Papavizas with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.