New Advocacy Agenda Revealed at National Leaders Conference

Communicator
February 2013, Volume 36, Issue 6

This week, principals and education leaders from around the nation are gathering in Washington, D.C. to participate in NAESP’s National Leaders Conference. The conference, which focuses on growing leadership, membership, and advocacy, serves as the kickoff for NAESP’s 2013 advocacy agenda.

Coinciding with the beginning of the new 113th Congress, which is expected to focus on improving educator effectiveness, among other issues, NAESP’s updated agenda focuses on building the capacity of principals through specific policy changes in federal education laws, and providing greater resources for schools.

NAESP will put its support behind two specific pieces of legislation and a set of guiding policies based on the latest research to build the capacity of principals. NAESP and NASSP have been working collaboratively to support legislation to recruit, prepare, and support principals through a new version of the Principal Recruitment and Training Act sponsored by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA). In addition, NAESP and NASSP are working collaboratively to carry the core messages from the joint NAESP/NASSP report Rethinking Principal Evaluation through legislation to set national guidelines for state and local effective principal evaluation systems. The advocacy will be grounded in the principals’ belief that they must be evaluated and supported on the ability to nurture, develop, and retain effective teachers and teacher leaders, and meet performance goals aligned to the domains of leadership responsibility within a principal’s sphere of influence, which includes consideration of student growth and achievement.

NAESP’s policy recommendations include: 

  • Ensure that the federal role in principal evaluation will be to urge states to provide fair and objective principal evaluation systems.
  • Establish accountability systems that include consideration of student growth and the multiple ways in which students learn. These systems should avoid the overuse of standardized assessment scores as the primary criterion to measure student performance; to rate, grade or rank principal, teacher, or school effectiveness; to allocate funds; or to take punitive measures against schools and/or school personnel.
  • Eliminate narrow policies on principal evaluation that are limited to student growth and achievement that may omit consideration of contextual issues and how a principal meets the immediate needs of a school, the unique challenges of the learning community, and the level of authority afforded to an individual principal to make improvements.
  • Require states and districts to provide relevant and timely data and direct access to greater professional development for principals, including mentoring for early career principals.

Visit www.naesp.org/advocacy to learn about NAESP’s complete set of policy recommendations that will drive all advocacy activities this year.

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