Legislative Priorities in the 113th Congress

NAESP's Policy Recommendations for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA):

  • Acknowledge the core competencies of effective principals
  • Develop comprehensive, fair and objective principal evaluation systems
  • Develop accountability systems that include growth models and multiple measures
  • Hold principal preparation programs to common high standards
  • Insist on standards-based certification, induction and mentoring
  • Invest in identifying and retaining effective principals
  • Dedicate ongoing professional development that strengthens core competencies
  • Strengthen elementary principals’ knowledge of early childhood education

Read more about NAESP’s federal policy recommendations here.
This research update provides further evidence for these recommendations.

NAESP's Response to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Proposals in the 113th Congress:

NAESP, along with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), sent a joint letter to Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN), in response to the Strengthening American Schools Act, S. 1094, which was approved by the Committee on a party-line vote on June 5. Read the full letter here

The House Education and Workforce Committee approved H.R. 5, the Student Success Act on a party-line vote June 18. Read a summary of the House ESEA bill provisions on the Principal's Office Blog and read the comment letters jointly written with NASSP to Chairman John Kline (R-MN) here, and the letter to Ranking Member George Miller (D-CA) here.

School Principal Recruitment and Training Act of 2013

NAESP supports the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act of 2013, S. 840 sponsored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and H.R. 1736 sponsored by Representative Susan Davis (D-CA). This bill improves federal programs for the nation’s principals and assistant principals by amending Title II, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to recruit, prepare, and support principals through capacity-building measures that will improve student academic achievement in high-need schools. Read a one-page summary of the legislation here.

Text of House legislation

Text of Senate legislation

Over 70 national organizations along with state principal organizations support this legislation in a sign-on letter sent to Senator Franken and Rep. Davis.

Safe and Successful Schools

NAESP along with the American School Counseling Association, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of School Resource Officers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and School Social Work Association of America released "A Framework for Safe and Successful Schools," joint recommendations for improved school safety and access to mental health services for students. This interdisciplinary framework offers policy recommendations and best practices for successful schools.

Bills NAESP Supports

The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, S.758, H.R. 2706

The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, S.758, introduced by Senator Parry Murray (D-WA) and H.R. 2706, introduced by Reps. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO),  supports comprehensive state and local literacy programs to ensure that children from birth to grade twelve have the reading and writing skills necessary for success in school and beyond. NAESP supports the legislation.

Specifically LEARN supports high literacy for all students from birth through high school by:

  • Authorizing $2.35 billion for comprehensive literacy programs, to support local school-based literacy programs (birth to grade twelve).
  • Enhancing state’s capacity to improve literacy instruction through the creation of state literacy leadership teams.
  • Providing high-quality, research-based professional development opportunities for instructional staff and financial support for literacy coaches.
  • Supporting promising and innovative practices to improve literacy and writing, especially for students reading and writing below grade level.

Success in the Middle Act of 2013, S.708, H.R. 2316

The Success in the Middle Act would authorizes federal investments to improve the education of middle grades students in low-performing schools, allotting funds to create and disseminate promising research on best practices to improve achievement in middle grades education. Introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).

In addition, Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced H.Res.100 and Senator Whitehouse introduced S. Res. 80, congressional resolutions honoring March, 2013 as National Middle Level Education Month.

Continuum of Learning Act, H.R. 791  

The Continuum of Learning Act, sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) links early learning to the elementary grades and helps states disseminate information on how to best use funds for early childhood education activities appropriate through the third grade. It strengthens connections between existing early learning programs and the elementary grades by focusing on early childhood development and education within existing teacher and principal training programs. The bill provides joint and targeted professional development for early childhood and elementary teachers and principals. NAESP worked to craft the legislation consistent with the association’s priority on P-3 and early childhood education.

Ready to Learn Act, S. 322

The Ready to Learn Act, introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will help prepare children for kindergarten by providing funding for states to establish high-quality early learning programs to promote school readiness for four-year-olds in their state. Funding will be allocated to states through a competitive process to establish and administer voluntary preschool programs, while allowing governors to build on pre-existing early childhood systems. Schools, child care entities, Head Start programs, or other community providers of pre-kindergarten programs are all eligible for sub-grants.

Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act of 2013, S. 689,

This bill, introduced by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) was approve in the Senate by a vote of 95-2 (Senate vote 105) as an amendment to Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, S. 649. The Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 was removed from Senate consideration without a vote for final passage. Included in this mental health bill is Sen. Franken's (D-MN) provision that focus on school-based mental health partnership programs with community service providers, which NAESP supports. A description of the school-related provisions of this bill can be read here

Mental Health in Schools Act of 2013, S. 195/ H.R. 628

This legislation, introduced by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) would expand access to mental health services in schools, and establish a grant program to support schools that work with community-based organizations to expand access to mental health services for students. The grant program will also provide assistance to schools to train staff, volunteers, families, and other members of the community to recognize the signs of behavioral health problems in students and refer them for appropriate services.

Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326

This legislation, introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), would reauthorize the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) program, which over the last decade has successfully provided millions of children with access to afterschool programs. The Act would modernize the 21st CCLC program to improve states’ ability to effectively support quality afterschool programs, run more effective grant competitions and improve struggling programs. In addition, it would enhance communication between local schools and afterschool programs to ensure afterschool activities complement the academic curriculum while encouraging parental engagement in student learning and improving the tracking of student progress.

Transforming Education through Technology Act, H.R. 521

This Act, sponsored by Rep. George Miller (D-CA) would support teachers and principals in using technology to increase college and career readiness, close achievement gaps, and engage all students. It also would help states improve student learning, upgrade assessments, and improve educator preparation and support and seed innovation to create the learning environment of tomorrow using the best technology of today.

To Establish an Office of Rural Education Policy in the Department of Education, S. 1096

This Act, sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), aims to give rural students and educators a stronger voice in the policies that impact them by creating a new Office of Rural Education Policy in the U.S. Department of Education. The number of students attending rural schools increased by more than 11 percent between the 2004-2005 and 2008-2009 school years. In 2008-2009 nearly one-third of all schools were considered rural. The bill would establish and maintain a clearinghouse for collecting and disseminating information, on priorities including teacher and principal recruitment and retention at rural elementary schools and rural secondary schools. Read a  press release on this bill from Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).