FGN News: December 2016

ESSA Toolkit

A new Congress and a new presidential administration could mean a shake-up in many of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations that have guided your state’s efforts to implement the new law. Be sure your state leaders know the important role school leaders play in student success with the ESSA Toolkit. This custom-designed toolkit provides:

  • Guidance to influence your state’s plan for using federal funds to better support students, schools, and principals.
  • Draft legislation and policies for your state that highlight the importance of school leaders through the toolkit’s model legislation tool.
  • Messaging templates for use in traditional and social media channels. 

If policymakers don’t get their education information from you, they will get it somewhere else.

This Month’s Top Advocacy Issues

Trump Nominates Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

Donald Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to serve as the next Secretary of Education. DeVos is a Michigan native and she formerly served as the chair of the American Federation for Children, an advocacy group that promotes school choice by pushing to expand charter schools and school voucher programs that provide families with public money to spend on private schools. By nominating DeVos, it appears that Trump is moving forward with his plan to enact spending $20 billion on block grants that will expand charter and private school options for children in low-income households. DeVos has long been a vocal supporter of school choice and has worked in the past to have a school choice ballot initiative introduced in Michigan. You can read NASSP’s statement on DeVos’ nomination here.

ED Releases Final State Accountability Regulations

On November 28, ED released its final regulations to implement the accountability, data reporting, and state plan provisions of ESSA. Some of the most important changes from the draft to the final rules include:

  • Providing more time for states to submit their accountability plans.
  • Lengthening the timeline for states to identify schools in need of comprehensive support and improvement under ESSA regulations.
  • Allowing for more flexibility in states developing their fifth academic indicator.

While these final rules do provide some much needed reforms, there are still some areas where NASSP would have liked to see ED make some changes. Read all about it here.

New NASSP Position Statement on School Facilities

NASSP is soliciting comments on a new position statement on school facilities. The statement expresses deep concern regarding the state of the nation’s school facilities and offers recommendations for modernizing all schools to provide safe and accessible 21st-century learning environments. Send your comments by Friday, December 16 to Amanda Karhuse, NASSP director of advocacy, at karhusea@nassp.org.

Twitter Talk

@akarhuse Have you read the proposed @NASSP position statement on School Facilities? Public comments are due 12/16! http://ow.ly/q523306nZ0i
@dnchodak Blog from @DrJeanPaulCadet on how states can use #ESSA #TitleIIA $ to better prepare, support, & retain educators: https://t.co/vYUemGMWsU
@zachscott33 It’s time to end corporal punishment in schools. Join .@NASSP in asking policy makers to end this outdated practice: https://t.co/kPDdFT9YKm
@nassp It’s important to reach out to your member of congress to advocate for more funding under #ESSA. For templates: http://bit.ly/2flha7T.

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


Federal Funding for Principal Development

Last month, NASSP worked with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), the American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), and over 40 state school leader organizations. They sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees asking them to support funding for Title II, Part A in ESSA. Title II, Part A grants principals these opportunities, as it provides formula funding to states for the purpose of preparing; training; recruiting; and retaining high-quality teachers, principals, assistant principals, and other school leaders.

Corporal Punishment

NASSP and over 80 other advocacy organizations sent a letter to all local, state, and federal policymakers asking them to condemn the use of corporal punishment in schools. More than 109,000 students were subjected to corporal punishment in public schools in the 2013-14 school year. While this may be a drop from the 163,333 that were affected in the 2011-12 school year, it is still extremely concerning that corporal punishment is a legal form of discipline in 19 states. Secretary of Education John King also sent his own letter asking that states and schools end the harmful practice as well.

Take Action

Learn the issues. Develop your stories to illustrate the issues. Deliver your message to members of Congress. That is the essence of the 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference.

We will gather state association leaders, state lobbyists, and members of the Federal Grassroots Network April 24–26 in Washington, DC, to deliver a powerful message with a unified voice to federal legislators: That great school leaders are vital to the success of each student.

There is no registration fee to attend the conference. Contact Zachary Scott for more information.

The Importance of Advocacy

Michigan principal Steve Carlson shares that his advocacy experience “gave me some amazing opportunities to engage with lawmakers and others who influence decisions about education. The truth is, though, that anyone can get into the arena to be heard.” Read more about Steve’s experience on the School of Thought blog.

2017 National Principals Conference

In July 2017, NASSP and NAESP will co-host the first-ever National Principals Conference in Philadelphia, PA, to bring all K–12 principals together with their peers to not only gain a better understanding of the problems other school leaders encounter, but to work with them on inventive solutions that can benefit students of all ages. Register today!

In this Month’s Principal Leadership

Principal Leadership magazine cover

This month’s issue of Principal Leadership features an article by NASSP Director of Advocacy Amanda Karhuse on ways to properly ensure the safety of transgender students in schools. The piece examines NASSP’s transgender students position statement, provides recommendations for school leaders on promoting a positive school culture for all students, and breaks down the current federal policy regarding transgender students.

All FGN members are invited to write a guest article for Principal Leadership or blog post for School of Thought—just email Manager of Advocacy Zachary Scott with your idea. You can also subscribe to the blog to receive an email whenever a new post is published.