Principals Push Legislators for Changes to ESEA Bills

Education Daily reports that principals’ groups are pushing legislators for changes to the ESEA reauthorization proposals on Capitol Hill- the ESEA reauthorization discussion draft by Chairman Lamar Alexander, and the Student Success Act, H.R. 5, which is up for consideration by the House.

AFSA, NAESP, NASSP have sent a letter to the Senate HELP Committee requesting a carve out of federal funds for principal development, a roll back of the proposed 100 percent transfer provision in the discussion draft between Title II and Title IV, and an elimination of Title I portability provision.

The groups ask that the provisions of the School Principal Recruitment and Training Act be included in an ESEA reauthorization bill. This would create a competitive grant program for school districts and chosen partners to develop training programs for principals to lead high-need schools. The bill would also provide one-year residencies for aspiring principals at such schools under a mentor principal and provide professional development for two years after they begin their job.

AFSA, NAESP, NASSP also want legislators to revise language in the Alexander discussion draft to require that alternative routes to principal certification are only open to those with teaching experience.

Specifically, the comments state the Student Success Act must:

  • Clearly define the term “school leader” to include only principals and assistant principals working in the school building, and not teacher leaders, or non-building staff such as superintendents;
  • Require districts that receive Title II funding to allocate no less than 10 percent of the funds available for professional development for elementary, middle, and high school principals to improve instructional leadership;
  • Require that state school leader evaluation systems be designed in collaboration with practitioners, and ensure that they are based on more than just student test scores;
  • Ensure principal evaluation systems focus on the six key domains of leadership responsibility within a principal’s sphere of influence: student growth and achievement, school planning and progress, school culture, stakeholder support and engagement, professional qualities and practices, and professional growth and learning;
  • Oppose any and all efforts to transform Title I funding — which is designed to assist public schools with high concentrations of poverty and high-need students–into a private school voucher.

Principals are on Capitol Hill this week to push legislators to reject the legislation as is, increase funding authorization for ESEA programs to a minimum of the FY 2010 level, include early childhood education and preK-3 alignment in a revised bill and to oppose Title I portability in the bill.

Read the full Education Daily article here.