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Advocating for Schools During National Principals Month

October is National Principals Month, a time we designate to celebrate and thank principals for their dedication and endless hard work. It’s also a time for school leaders and those who support them to make the case to lawmakers for the support our students and schools need. Now more than ever, we need to inform local, state, and federal government officials about the difficult reality principals and public schools are experiencing as they continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. School leaders must be out front, leading the charge, and making the case for the resources that are so urgently needed.

NASSP encourages school leaders to make their voices heard this October by visiting www.principalsmonth.org/advocate and getting involved. Consider taking just a few minutes to send a message to your members of Congress using the NASSP action alert. Or extend an invitation to a lawmaker to join you for an in-person or virtual “shadowing visit.” There’s no better way to open policymakers’ eyes to the reality of what schools are facing today and to advocate for the funding and resources needed to continue providing the quality of education our students deserve. All the resources you’ll need to plan a visit are easily accessible at www.principalsmonth.org.

 

ADVOCATE NOW

 

THIS MONTH’S TOP ADVOCACY ISSUES

House Hears From Education Advocates, Passes New HEROES Act

In an encouraging congressional development, the House of Representatives introduced and passed a new $2.2 trillion version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act late last month, updating the lower chamber’s priorities for another large national COVID-19 relief package. The approval of such a bill has eluded Congress since March, when the House passed their previous version of HEROES. The Senate also previously adopted their own version of a relief package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s bills were met with widespread disappointment from advocates across the spectrum, including the K–12 education community. As of yet, the two chambers have been unable to reach consensus on their differing visions for the size and scope of the potential stimulus.

National education organizations repeatedly expressed to Congress that at least $175 billion in funding was needed for K–12 education to provide even modest relief to many schools that will soon be facing very serious budget cuts due to lost state and local tax revenue. The pandemic has hit the economy hard, and that will have a direct impact on education funding across the country for years to come, likely exceeding that of the Great Recession in 2008. Thanks to consistent and ongoing advocacy from educators, the new House bill provides exactly that measure of relief.

The $175 billion K–12 education funding in the updated HEROES Act would support a number of key areas impacting schools right now, including:

  • Costs associated with making up instructional time, including teacher, school leader, and classified school employee personnel costs
  • Providing school-based supports for impacted students, families, and staff, including counseling, mental health services, family engagement efforts, and the coordination of physical health services
  • Costs associated with sanitation and cleaning for schools and school transportation
  • Professional development for school-based staff on trauma-informed care to restore the learning environment
  • Purchasing educational technology, including assistive technology, that aids in regular and substantive interactions between students and their classroom instructor

Critically, the bill also provides $12 billion in funding for the FCC’s E-Rate program and authorizes it to be used to fund home internet and connectivity so that all students have the same opportunity to learn remotely. Closing the “homework gap” via E-Rate has been a top advocacy priority for many education groups, including NASSP.

While passage of the HEROES Act or a different negotiated package by the Senate before the November election remains unlikely, especially after President Trump recently tweeted that he would end negotiations on a new deal, the House has planted an important flag with this legislation. School leaders and educators now have a new bill to rally around and advocate for as the push for federal relief continues.

TWITTER TALK

@akarhuse
Survey: Nearly Half of High School Principals Have Helped Students Facing Homelessness During the Pandemic; 4 in 10 Have Aided Students Coping With Deaths in Their Family @The74 https://the74million.org/?p=561865 #ThankAPrincipal

 

@zachscott33
It's officially National Principals Month! While we may be all virtual this year, there are still some awesome activities, including a social media contest, a virtual Hill briefing, and a townhall on principal wellness. Find out more: https://principalsmonth.org #ThankAPrincipal

 

@GWaples
The national COVID-19 School Response Dashboard is actively tracking the latest data around the country for cases and mitigation strategies. Learn more about the project in this @NPR story, and principals/superintendents, sign up your school/district!

 

@NASSP
Principals are doing amazing work every day! NC POY Tabari Wallace was featured on the @TheEllenShow for his incredible leadership during this pandemic. Thank you @TabariWallace for your hard work and dedication! #ThankAPrincipal https://bit.ly/3iggTmh

 

Take Action

Congress has yet to pass another desperately needed COVID-19 aid package, and schools are paying the price. Send a message to your representative and senators during National Principals Month, and make the case for schools, students, and educators everywhere.

 

Other News

The national COVID-19 School Response Dashboard has been launched and is tracking data and mitigation strategies across the country. Principals can access the data in their state and fill out the survey to participate in this critical data collection process.


RSVP today for a special virtual Capitol Hill briefing on October 22 hosted by NASSP, the American Federation of School Administrators, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals to hear principals share how they’re responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


NASSP recently partnered with the American School Counselors Association to bring together a panel of principals and counselors working together to address systemic oppression and racism in schools. Watch the recording of the important conversation.


In an interview with Human Rights Campaign, 2020 Colorado High School Principal of the Year Chuck Puga shared his strategies to create an inclusive school environment and empower LGBTQ+ students.


After incorporating feedback from NASSP members and stakeholders, the NASSP Board of Directors voted to adopt a new position statement on Principal Training.


NASSP has officially partnered with DoSomething.org to empower the civic voice of students and encourage them to register to vote. Help your students use their civic voices and share the Online Voter Registration Drive tool with teachers, counselors, student government advisers, and directly with students.


NASSP launched a new national network for LGBTQ+ school leaders. Principals and assistant principals interested in joining the network can do so by filling out this form.

 

In This Month’s Principal Leadership

The COVID-19 pandemic created an enormous shift to technology-based instruction. In the October “Advocacy Agenda,” Amy McLaughlin, the cybersecurity project director for the Consortium for School Networking, outlines how to build a culture of cybersafety. Read the column to learn how to help ensure the safety of your teachers and students online.

For more advocacy tweets, follow NASSP and the advocacy staff on Twitter:

 

NASSP
@nassp

 

 

Amanda Karhuse
@akarhuse

 

 

Zachary Scott
@zachscott33

 

 

Greg Waples
@GWaples

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