Experts Discuss the State of American Education at NPC19
Almost 3,000 principals, educators, and guests attended the 2019 National Principal’s Conference last month in Boston for three days of networking, professional learning, and discussions about the future of education policy in America. Highlighting the conference sessions hosted by NASSP’s Policy & Advocacy Center was the annual “State of American Education” forum that featured four prominent national education leaders: Joy Hofmeister (@joy4ok), Oklahoma superintendent of public instruction; Roberto Rodríguez (@RRodriguezTPlus), Teach Plus president and CEO; Erik Burmeister (@MPCSDsupson), Menlo Park City School District superintendent; and Aimy Steele (@aimysteele), former North Carolina principal.
Together, the panelists dissected a diverse array of issues school leaders currently face and the actions needed from federal and state lawmakers to help solve them. Vouchers and school choice, school safety, and educator shortages accounted for a majority of the policy discussion. The panelists also examined the impact of recent teacher walkouts around the country, how education is being discussed in the context of the 2020 presidential election, and why it is so critical for principals and other educators to speak up for policies that will enable student success.
Attendees at #NPC19 heeded that call to action throughout the conference, with over 800 school leaders using an NASSP campaign to send messages to their members of Congress supporting the PREP Act, a piece of legislation that, if passed, would help address teacher and principal shortages, strengthen educator preparation programs, and increase diversity in order to better reflect the students served by our schools.
THIS MONTH'S TOP ADVOCACY ISSUES
Congress and President Trump Reach Agreement on Budget Deal
After months of tense negotiations, Congress and President Trump finally agreed on a budget deal that will circumvent sequester cuts while also raising the nation’s debt ceiling through July 31, 2021. The two-year budget deal, or H.R.3877, includes a 3 percent raise in defense spending and a 4 percent raise for non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending, totaling around $24.5 billion for NDD programs, including education. Despite agreements from the leadership of both parties, the deal still had a somewhat tumultuous path out of Congress. It passed the House with over 130 Republicans opposing the measure, but the bulk of Democrats voting in favor. The bill passed the Senate later with a vote of 67-28 and President Trump signed the bill into law on August 2.
Although the budget deal has been passed, funding for the 2020–21 school year is still in limbo. Senate appropriators are now working to divide the $24.5 billion increase between the appropriations bills to determine how much each will receive. Earlier this year, the House passed H.R.2740, their own Education-Labor-HHS appropriations bill. This bill increased funding for the Department of Education (ED) by $4 billion, and it also included raises for several NASSP priority programs, including Title II, Title IV, IDEA, and Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants. It is unlikely that ED’s budget will see such a large increase under the new budget deal, which could lead to possible funding cuts for these programs and others that are severely in need of a funding raise. Check NASSP’s Policy & Advocacy Center for future updates.
More guns in schools is not a real solution. In fact, it will make schools more susceptible to accidents and violence rather than safer from it. Policymakers need to listen to what actual educators have to say about this. They know what they need, and it's not this. https://twitter.com/LPI_Learning/status/1154409346408882182
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Congress is currently attempting a major overhaul and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), and it’s vital that they incorporate measures to address teacher and principal shortages. Send a message now to your representatives and senators and tell them they must include the PREP Act in any HEA reauthorization bill!
The second research brief in NASSP’s yearlong intensive research partnership with Learning Policy Institute is available online! The report provides insights from current principals and highlights ways to support them and increase principal retention.
October is National Principals Month, and that’s the perfect time to invite lawmakers to your school for shadowing visits.Join a free NASSP webinar on August 21 to learn how!
NASSP announced the 2020 National Principal of the Year finalists! Learn more about this group of extraordinary school leaders.
Virginia principal and NASSP State Coordinator Carole Kihm was selected as the third quarterly NASSP Principal Advocate Champion! Carole has also joined the NASSP Board of Directors for the 2019–20 school year.
A new report released by the Center for American Progress contends that the enforcement of civil rights protections for LGBTQ students has been drastically scaled back in the Trump administration under the leadership of Secretary DeVos.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a new report in July providing evidence that although students of color and students with disabilities do not commit more disciplinable offenses than their peers, they are more likely to receive more school discipline and harsher, longer punishments.