In September, the Department of Education proposed definitions of "effective" and "highly effective" principals—a scant 200 words that, if enacted, could be used to determine which districts and schools are eligible for federal discretionary education grants. NAESP strongly opposes the definitions, which represent another attempt to hold principals accountable for outcomes far behind their control.
More important, our members oppose them as well. In a survey the Association conducted in September, 70 percent of NAESP members say it is inappropriate to define principal effectiveness in significant measure as "at least one grade level in an academic year" of student growth. NAESP heard you loud and clear, and we expressed your opposition in a formal letter to the Department of Education focused on four concerns:
- The definitions diminish state and local authority to set criteria for evaluating principals;
- The fail to address the intricate nature of a principal's job;
- They do not adequately account for school circumstances; and
- They still rely too heavily on student standardized test scores.