Principals’ Organizations Advocate for Improved Professional Development Funding

Principals’ Organizations Advocate for Improved Professional Development Funding

Urge Congress to Revise ESEA Title II Funding Language 

Washington – Calling on Congress to provide at least 10 percent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) professional development funding be directed toward principals, three organizations representing 95,000 school leaders across the country have banded together in an unprecedented partnership to urge legislators to invest in the people who make our nation’s schools run effectively.

The American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) say with the new teacher evaluation systems, school improvement models and accountability requirements, principals now more than ever need professional development opportunities to help them keep pace and create a learning environment in which children can thrive.

The proposal by the principal groups honors the intent and focus of the law, which requires states to provide assistance to local educational agencies for the development and implementation of professional development programs for principals that will enable them to be effective school leaders and prepare all students to meet challenging student academic achievement standards. The groups are not asking for new money, but that money allocated is used for principal training.

“Right now, the language in Title II isn’t specific enough to ensure adequate funding levels for principal professional development,” says Diann Woodard, AFSA president. “Principals are now expected to evaluate teacher effectiveness under new requirements, but there is little funding provided to make sure principals can implement the new evaluations successfully. Given the enormous impact principals have in their schools, it is imperative that school leaders receive increased support and high quality professional development.”

While funding for professional development is currently an allowable use of funds under Title II of ESEA, the Department of Education recently found that districts only use an average of four percent of these dollars for principal development, falling far short of what principals need to meet the increased demands placed on them as the operational and instructional leaders of their schools.

“There is growing concern about the increasingly complex and demanding role of principals with no reciprocal support for them to meet new expectations of the job,” said Gail Connelly, NAESP executive director. “If we expect principals to be successful in implementing the myriad of reforms in schools, we must provide the tools, resources and knowledge that they need as instructional leaders,” she added.

“The professional development of all educators is vital to successful schools, but the professional growth of school leaders is too often overlooked,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP executive director. “Research clearly shows that effective principal leadership is second only to direct classroom instruction as a contributing factor to student achievement. Yet policymakers are doing our nation’s educators and students a disservice by not prioritizing the development of strong school leaders who foster collaborative and supportive learning environments for teachers and students.”


About AFSA:

The American Federation of School Administrators is the exclusive union for administrators, professionals and supervisors advocating for excellence and equity in all of our schools, workplaces and communities. AFSA members are leaders in their schools and communities and are charged with the privilege and responsibility of helping to mold our nation’s students into successful, mindful individuals. As school leaders, AFSA members are constantly advocating for better public schools and systems of education. AFSA members are active in the labor movement and proudly stand in solidarity with all trade unionists and school administrators.

About NASSP:

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 36 countries around the world. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society<>, National Junior Honor Society<>, National Elementary Honor Society<>, and National Association of Student Councils<>.


About NAESP:
Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle level principals in the United States and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, advancing advocacy and providing professional development and resources for instructional leadership, including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and effective educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit NAESP administers the National Principals Resource Center <>, the American Student Council Association <>, and the President’s Education Awards & American Citizenship Awards Programs <>.


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