State Leaders to Take on Capitol Hill and Advance Advocacy Campaign
by Kelly Pollitt, NAESP Executive Associate, Strategic Policy and Special Projects
Communicator
, Vol. 33, No. 11, July 2010

During the past several months, both the House and Senate have been busy holding a number of hearings to consider key issues in federal elementary and secondary education policy—and principals have made significant contributions to the discussion and had a strong voice in the debate. Now that the hearings are complete, the education committees are drafting bills that will likely take into account recommendations that were provided during the hearing process. As the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) moves to the next stage, NAESP’s National Leaders Conference on July 14-16 in Washington, D.C., will provide an additional opportunity for principals to have their voices heard as lawmakers consider areas to address and provisions to include in renewal of the law.

National Leaders Conference
 
Attendees of the National Leaders Conference are representatives from your state affiliate, such as the executive director, president, president-elect, state representative, federal relations officer, and state editor. In addition to providing these state leaders with excellent opportunities to share ideas, learn about the local impact of current activity in the administration and Congress, and share policy recommendations for the reauthorization of ESEA, the conference will provide state affiliate leaders with the opportunity to increase their state associations’ capacity. The conference offers activities to help discover best leadership practices and recognize the states that are making marked advances in the field. Best practices from the field are critical to share with members of Congress as any reform policies are put into place.
 
State leaders will also be gathering during this conference to help advance NAESP’s 2010 advocacy campaign that centers on supporting principals through increased access to high-quality professional development opportunities and programs that will advance the profession. The advocacy agenda promotes key positions on policies that have been proposed to ensure that every principal has the tools and resources needed to be successful.
 
Policy Particulars
 
Highlights of this campaign and policy positions include:
  • Opposition of any model of school improvement that requires the firing of the principal and/or teachers without regard to school circumstances, staff training and expertise, and time afforded in the school building to implement school reform efforts.
  • Preserving the integrity of formula grants traditionally provided under the ESEA such as the Title I and Title II funds provided to school districts by need-based formulas. In shifting focus away from formula funding in favor of competitive funding, state and local administrators—especially those in rural areas—would not have the capacity to fairly compete for funds that they previously received through targeted formula grants.
  • Supporting growth models in educator evaluations to more accurately capture student success academically and developmentally. Multiple measures of assessment and related data—both formative and summative—must be used in the local evaluation of teachers and principals. Student assessment data must be used among many other metrics—formative and summative—in any evaluation of principals.
  • Strengthening access to professional development funds for principals based on standards of practice. Funding provided in Title II must offer high-quality, standards-based mentoring programs explicitly for principals.
NAESP has also made a strong push to include separate measures for professional development for principals in the area of early childhood education to help improve their knowledge and skills in creating high-quality early learning environments. The proposal provides a professional development program through which principals will be encouraged to support a continuum of learning through developmentally effective and appropriate curricula and teaching practices. Activities addressed by the proposal include how to establish partnerships with families and community-based early childhood education providers to better support learning at each stage, as well as provide effective transitions among settings from early learning to the elementary school years.
 
With several supporters in the House and Senate, there is a good chance that the proposal will be included in the full reauthorization effort. Learn more about the 2010 advocacy campaign.

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