The Obama Administration recently awarded waivers to 10 states that applied for regulatory reprieve from certain provisions in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) during a recent White House event attended by NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. One element of the waiver package includes a policy change long advocated by NAESP.

The new package amends part of the current regulations for the School Improvement Grant program that automatically dismisses principals as the first step of a school “turnaround” model in a small percentage of schools identified as “focus schools” by the U.S. Department of Education. The policy now requires a review of principal performance instead of his or her automatic dismissal. (NAESP is leading a research-based initiative to develop guidelines that will inform state and local principal evaluation systems. The guidelines will be issued later this spring.)

This change in the waiver package represents a small step forward in NAESP’s three-year fight to eliminate the regulations requiring principals’ automatic dismissal from federal policy.

NAESP’s continues to call on Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as NCLB, and develop the visionary federal legislation that will support schools and educators. The waivers represent a stop-gap measure at best. Congress will show a true commitment to our nation’s students by reauthorizing the law. There are fundamental changes that both parties agree on, and we urge lawmakers to try to put aside politics to respond to the crisis in education caused by NCLB.

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