FGN News: April 2016

For the first time ever, this month NASSP brought student leaders to Capitol Hill to raise their own voices! The newly founded NASSP Student Leadership Advisory Committee held its first public event April 5 on Capitol Hill. Two student members, a teacher, and a principal were featured at the briefing titled “Technology in Schools: Student, Teacher, and Principal Perspectives.” Check out the Storify produced from the event, featuring many tweets and photos taken by committee members. Stay tuned to the School of Thought blog for more perspectives on the event from committee members.

This month we are also excited to announce that registration has opened for all members of the Federal Grassroots Network to attend the 2016 NASSP Advocacy Conference, June 20–22 in Washington D.C.! See more in the Take Action section to the right.

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Implementation

The ESSA negotiated rulemaking committee began meeting this past month. Principals have three representatives on the committee as they tackle a variety of issues, including using nationally recognized tests in high school and testing for students with cognitive disabilities. Not everything has proved smooth sailing, as we have documented in our weekly Advocacy Update blog posts. There is a possibility that the committee will not come to consensus.

Meanwhile, the NASSP advocacy team hosted the first webinar in our series on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which covered the provisions in Title I. You can now view the archived webinar online. Our next webinar is on April 27 at 3:30 p.m. (ET) and will cover Title II provisions, including professional development for principals. Register today!

FY 2017 Appropriations

As the FY 2017 appropriations process gears up, NASSP has been actively advocating for principals and the schools they lead. NASSP, along with more than 150 national, state, and local organizations, sent a letter asking Congress to fund the School Leader Recruitment and Support program at the level requested by President Obama. NASSP has also been involved in advocating for robust funding for Title IV, Part A, of ESSA and has been meeting with congressional offices this week. In Title IV, Part A, the new education law created a formula-funded flexible block grant for local education agencies, which consolidated more than 20 programs from No Child Left Behind. The funding can be used for activities that promote safe and healthy schools, a well-rounded education, or effective use of technology. NASSP and several state and national organizations signed a letter calling for Congress to adequately fund this critical grant program.

Lifeline Program Update

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to make the changes necessary to modernize and reform the Lifeline program, helping low-income consumers afford broadband Internet access in their homes. The Lifeline program began in 1985 and focused on telephone service, but today, Internet access is a necessity for American families. As part of the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC), NASSP submitted a letter to the FCC asking for modernization of the Lifeline program. Education groups and libraries recognize the need for Americans, and particularly students, to have Internet access in their homes to complete job searches, access information and services, and complete homework assignments. Low-income students’ lack of access to high-speed Internet is often referred to as the “homework gap.” NASSP has written previously about this topic on the School of Thought blog.

Twitter Talk

@drbelakor #NASSPStudentVoice Digital Citizenship MUST be taught. Both students & teachers must know-Anonymity does not really exist in cyberspace.
@akarhuse States should take advantage of the 3% reservation in Title II of #ESSA & provide more #PD4Principals! #NASSPStudentVoice #edtech
@NASSP Our Student Leadership Advisory Committee on Capitol Hill this morning! #NASSPStudentVoice

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


NASSP partnered with the Center for American Progress and other education organizations this week for the launch of the Testing Bill of Rights, which aligns with our recently approved position statement on opt-out policies. NASSP member Paul Fanuele, the principal of Arlington High School in Pleasant Valley, New York, spoke on the press call launching the initiative. As states develop new testing plans in accordance with ESSA, the Testing Bill of Rights can serve as a way to ensure tests are in service of instruction and not vice versa. To get more information or find resources on how states and districts can improve testing, visit www.testbetter.org and sign the Testing Bill of Rights to make testing better, fairer, and fewer.

Take Action

Bring your voice directly to Capitol Hill this June by joining us at the annual NASSP Advocacy Conference! All FGN members are invited to join principals from across the United States for networking, learning about education policy, and training to be an advocate, before a day of meetings with legislators on Capitol Hill. No experience with advocacy is necessary, and the NASSP staff will provide everything you need to be successful. Learn more and register today.

In this Month’s Principal Leadership


The Advocacy Agenda column in the April issue of Principal Leadership magazine is authored by Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the FCC and a leading voice for the expansion of the E-Rate program. She discusses the significance of expanding broadband access in schools.

Advocacy Updates on School of Thought

This month on the School of Thought blog, we discuss a new bipartisan bill called the CTE Excellence and Equity Act, which seeks to support innovative approaches to CTE (career/technical education) and efforts to redesign high schools to be more integrated with their CTE curriculums. NASSP continues to follow the Perkins CTE Act on Capitol Hill, which has been overdue for reauthorization.

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.